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BARCELONA (Web Desk) – Argentina and Barcelona football star Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud.

His father, Jorge, has also been handed a jail term for defrauding Spain of €4.1 million in taxes (£3.5m; $4.5m) between 2007 and 2009, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

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The court ordered Messi to pay a fine of around 2 million euros ($2.21 million) and his father to pay 1.5 million euros for the crimes.

Barcelona's Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi (L) sits in court with his father Jorge Horacio Messi during their trial for tax fraud in Barcelona, Spain, June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alberto Estevez

However, they are likely to avoid jail time, as under the Spanish system, prison terms of under two years can be commuted or served under probation.

The footballer and his father were found guilty of three counts of tax fraud in Wednesday’s ruling by a court in Barcelona.

During the trial, Lionel Messi claimed he “knew nothing” about the management of his financial affairs, saying he was “playing football”.