Messi to pay fine and avoid jail time

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Argentine football player Lionel Messi attends an event of the Adidas sportswear manufacturer in Beijing, China June 2, 2017.

Last year, Messi and his father, Jorge, were found guilty of three counts of tax fraud.

Both appealed, but Spain's Supreme Court last month confirmed the jail term for the Barcelona striker, although it reduced Messi's father's sentence to 15 months.

However, he was spared serving hard time due to Spanish law denoting that any sentence under two years can be served as probation.

The judge in charge of the case will now make a decision bearing in mind the prosecutor's recommendations.

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The five-time Ballon d'Or victor told FC Barcelona that week that he wanted to leave and, according to Mundo Deportivo, he even specified that he wanted to head to Man City.

The fine-for-time deal was presented by Messi's lawyers to the judge who will rule on whether to suspend his sentence - as is widely expected - state prosecutor Isabel Lopez Riera said.

The shocking revelation comes just days after reports emerged that Cristiano Ronaldo is desperate to leave Real Madrid after he too was accused of tax evasion by Spanish prosecutors.

Messi and his father defrauded the Spanish tax office of 4.1 million euros between 2007 and 2009 by using a web of shell companies based in Belize, Switzerland and Uruguay to evade taxes on income from the player's image rights.

However, Spanish news agency EFE reported on Friday that the public prosecutor has agreed to substitute the sentence for a fine of €255,000.

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