Lionel Messi sentenced for tax evasion

BARCELONA football star Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined almost $3 million after being found guilty of tax evasion, but is unlikely to see the inside of a jail cell.

Under Spanish law, prison terms are usually suspended for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.

The Argentinean's father, Jorge Horacio Messi, received the same prison sentence but half the fine, with the court finding the pair used foreign companies to avoid paying taxes on $6 million of the player's income from 2007-09.

Both men have said they will appeal.

Topics:  barcelona fine lionel messi prison tax