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Barcelona star Messi on trial over alleged tax fraud

Lionel Messi attended court on Wednesday morning. Photo: Reuters

Lionel Messi ignored shouts from the press and onlookers as he and his father arrived at court in Barcelona today at their trial into tax fraud.

Members of the public were heard shouting at Messi, demanding he give back any undeclared money.

The Argentina and Barcelona striker is accused, along with his father Jorge Messi, of failing to declare over £3 million in taxes between 2007 and 2009. Spanish authorities claim they used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.

Lionel Messi and his defence team have repeatedly claimed that the footballer's father and tax advisers handle all his finances, and the striker is not aware of any wrongdoing.

Messi was eventually called as a witness. Credit: Reuters

Lionel Messi is considered one of the best footballers in the world. He's scored in 19 of 23 matches in all competitions this season, and in January won the Fifa Ballon d'Or for a record fifth time.

All this means he's worth a lot of money, and last year it's estimated by Forbes that he earned over £50 million, including around £15 million in product endorsements.

If convicted of tax fraud, Lionel and Jorge Messi face possible jail sentences of 22 and a half months each, although it's likely these would be suspended.

The trial continues.