New Delhi: Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has reportedly been sentenced to a year in prison by at a court in Catalonia for tax evasion on Thursday.
However, the Argentine, who has previously admitted to the offences, is unlikely to ever serve time in jail.
The 31-year-old appeared in court today aiming to avoid going to prison over a 1.5m euros (£1.1m) tax fraud.
During the hearing, the former West Ham and Liverpool player has been fined €815,000 and handed a year's sentence for two counts of fiscal crimes committed in 2011 and 2012.
Spanish paper El Mundo claim that Mascherano's lawyer has requested a suspension of the prison sentence and for it to be replaced with a fine.
The Argentine is alleged to have failed to declare over 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million, £1.1 million) in 2011 and 2012 made through his image rights by ceding the rights to companies he owns in Portugal and the United States with favourable tax rates.
Mascherano is just the latest high-profile footballer to be scrutinised by the tax authorities in Spain over the declaration of money made through image rights.
Five-time World Player of the Year and Mascherano's Argentine compatriot Lionel Messi appeared before a judge in 2013 after he and his father were accused of defrauding the public purse of 4.16 million euros (£3 million) after his image rights were ceded to companies in Belize and Uruguay.
And only yesterday, new dates have been announced for Messi's trial.