Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has been sentenced to one year in prison over tax fraud. The player has also been fined 815,000 euros.
Mascherano’s lawyer has requested the automatic suspension of the one-year prison sentence and for it to be replaced by a fine.
In previous court sessions Mascherano had confessed to both, paying back the 1.5m euros and also a further 200,000 as a fine.
Mascherano wrote an open letter after the shocking verdict in which he insisted he was an ‘honest and responsible person’.
He wrote: ‘I am a professional athlete, I have no great knowledge of tax and legal issues. Therefore, I’m helped by people that handles these issues, which for me are complex.
‘Throughout my career I was an honest and responsible person, respecting my colleagues, the clubs I represent and the countries in which I lived.
‘This situation I’m going through is another experience, from which I will come out stronger, and very calm as I am once again within the law.
‘I reserve the possibility of action against those who advised me badly by recommending me something which was not right.’