Messi may face up to six years in jail

Madrid: Lionel Messi`s legal and fiscal council Angel Juarez has stressed the Barcelona star has not been notified that a complaint has been filed over his alleged tax fraud, and added that the attacker`s lawyers are ready for a potential legal battle with the Spanish tax authorities.

Under Spanish law, Messi could face a maximum penalty of six years in prison if found guilty.

Prosecutor Raquel Amado is investigating claims that the Argentine and his father have avoided paying the charges due from sales of the 25-year-old`s image rights by operating through companies based outside of the country, and filed a complaint with the courthouse in the Gava district of Barcelona on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Messi expressed his surprise at the accusations and is adamant they have not committed any infringement, adding that his legal representatives are equally confident about the outcome of the case.

"We`d like to express our surprise with the news published by several media outlets. Neither us, nor our client has received any notification from the prosecutor in relation to what has been reported," a statement signed by Juarez reads.

"As his legal and fiscal council, we will take all the appropriate legal action against the complaint of the prosecutor and we are confident that justice will prevail."

Notably, the 25-year-old Messi has won four straight FIFA world player of the year awards. He has scored 133 goals for Barcelona over the last two seasons and helped it win its fourth Spanish league title in five seasons this year.