Barcelona: Barcelona star Lionel Messi will appeal and vowed to clear his name after a court in Spain on Wednesday sentenced him and his father to 21 months in jail for tax fraud, the player's lawyers said.
The prison sentences may be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes with a sentence of less than 2 years.
The Argentine's lawyers feel an appeal would eventually succeed in persuading the court that Messi and his father have behaved correctly, the player's representatives told AFP in a statement.
"The most recent laws from the supreme court on this matter would seem to prove the argument of the defence," Messi's lawyers Enrique Bacigalupo and Javier Sanchez-Vera said.
The Barcelona court found Messi and his father Jorge Horacio guilty of using companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on a major part of his income.