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Messi Probably Won't Go To Jail, Despite Being Sentenced To 21-Months In Prison

The footballer and his father, Jorge, were handed down a 21-month sentence for tax fraud by a Spanish court but are unlikely to serve time.

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Don't panic, though: The Argentine forward, who currently plays for FC Barcelona, will probably never see the inside of a cell.

Under Spanish law, prison sentences under two years can be served on probation.

Messi and his father were found guilty of three counts of tax fraud by a court in Barcelona on Wednesday.

In June, a court heard that the pair defrauded the Spanish tax authorities of around €4 million (£3.4 million) over three years. Tax havens in Uruguay and Belize were used to shield money made off the back of Messi's image.

The court ordered the footballer to repay €1.4 million (£1.7 million), and his father €1.2 million (£1.27 million), after concluding that while Jorge Messi was primarily responsible, his son knew enough about his finances to also be held accountable.

"I was playing football, I knew nothing," he said.

The 29-year-old player, who unexpectedly announced his retirement from international football only last week, said he had never expected any wrong-doing from his father.

Messi made an "upfront" payment of €5 million in August 2013, apparently equivalent to his unpaid taxes.

He remains one of the best-paid sportspeople in the world. Last year, he earned an estimated €70 million (£60 million), according to Forbes.

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at .

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