Barcelona - La Liga club Barcelona have expressed their
support for Argentine striker Lionel Messi and his father after the Spanish
Supreme Court upheld their prison sentences over tax fraud charges, although
neither are expected to go to jail.
Five-time World Player of the Year winner Messi, who has
been at Barcelona since the age of 13, was handed a 21-month prison sentence
and fined $2.25 million for three counts of tax fraud between 2007 and 2009.
"The club reiterates, once again, its full support for
Leo Messi, his father Jorge Messi, and his family," a statement on the
club's official website read. (www.fcbarcelona.com)
"FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu contacted
the player's family to communicate this support.
"The family was very grateful, not only for today's
gesture, but also for the support the player and his family have received from
the club throughout this process. The club will continue to stand with Leo
Messi, his father, and his family."
Argentine international Messi has scored 506 goals in 582
senior appearances for Barcelona, winning eight league titles and four
Champions League trophies.