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Football Star Lionel Messi Found Guilty of Tax Fraud Charges

Barcelona's Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi (C) arrives to court with his father Jorge Horacio Messi (3rd R) to stand trial for tax fraud in Barcelona, Spain, June 2, 2016.

A court in Barcelona, Spain gave the football star, Lionel Messi, and his father Jorge Wednesday suspended sentences of 21 months in prison for tax fraud and a fine of about $4.1 million.

Because in Spain a sentence of less than two years for first offenses for non-violent crimes is commonly suspended, neither man is likely to go to jail.

The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish Supreme Court, a statement from Barcelona court said.

The Argentina star, who plays for Barcelona FC, and his father were found guilty of defrauding the Spanish state of about $4.5 million in taxes of Messi's income earned from his image rights from 2007 to 2009.

The image rights include endorsement deals with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and the Kuwait Food Company.

Messi shocked Argentina and the whole world with his unexpected resignation after Chile defeated Argentina 4-2 on penalty kicks, after a 0-0 draw during the regular and additional time in the Copa America Centenario final match on June 25.

Messi, who is regarded as one of the most precise shooters in football, uncharacteristically missed his penalty kick.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.