Javier Mascherano has been sentenced to a year in prison and fined €815,000 (£625,000) for two tax offences.

However, the 31-year-old Barcelona and Argentina defender is not likely to be spending a year behind bars, as his lawyer David Aineto has requested the prison sentence to be substituted for a fine.

In Spain people handed sentences of less than two years are not normally required to serve their sentence, unless they are being punished for violent crime, if they agree to a fine.

Mascherano published an open letter after the verdict in which he insisted he was an ”honest and responsible person”.

 ”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,” he wrote.

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