Messi ‘could stand trial’

The case stems from allegations that Messi and his father, Jorge, should have paid Spanish tax authorities 4.16m euros (??3m) on earnings between 2007 and 2009.

Prosecutors accused the Messis of evading tax by funnelling income derived from the player’s image rights through “purely instrumental entities” in Switzerland, Belize and Uruguay.

The scheme is alleged to have commenced when Messi was a minor and both the Argentina forward and his father have denied any wrongdoing.

But a ruling at Barcelona???s provincial high court on Wednesday has paved the way for Messi to stand trial, after stating he should not be granted impunity for not knowing what was happened with his finances.

Messi and his father made a 5m euros (??3.6m) ???corrective payment??? to Spanish authorities in August 2013 to clear the outstanding sum and the interest that would have been due on the amount.

Messi, who has just won the treble with Barcelona, is a four-time FIFA World Player of the Year and is regarded by many as the best player in the history of football.

He left his homeland of Argentina to join Barcelona as a 13-year-old and made his debut for the Catalan giants at the age of 17.

The 27-year-old has a combined total of 600 goals and assists in 482 matches for Barcelona and has scored more Champions League hat-tricks than any other player.