Lionel Messi prison sentence appeal date set for three days before El Clásico

Spain’s supreme court scheduled a hearing for the appeal of Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father against a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud on April 20, three days before the Catalan club are to play Real Madrid in the Clasico, Spain media reports.

The five-time World Player of the Year and his father, Jorge Messi, were handed a 21-month suspended sentence by a court in Barcelona on July 6 after being found guilty of three counts of tax fraud.

Prosecutors maintained that Messi and his father used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay as well as shell companies in the U.K. and Switzerland to avoid paying taxes totalling €4.1m on earnings from image rights from 2007 to 2009.

Messi is La Liga’s leading scorer this season and has netted more goals than any player in matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Clasico is set to be played on April 23 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

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