Former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso is facing a five-year jail term after Spanish authorities accused him of tax fraud.
Prosecutors say the former Spanish international owes nearly €2m (£1.7m) in tax related earnings from image rights, which he failed to declare whilst playing for Real Madrid.
Alonso is said to have not declared the taxes between 2010 and 2012, although he has denied any wrongdoings.
The same sentence is being sought for the player’s financial adviser, Ivan Zaldua, whilst prosecutors are also seeking a fine of €4m and demanding Alonso pays back the sum that was allegedly denied to the Spanish tax office.
The Madrid court i charge of the investigation reopened the case in 2017 and said that the allegations against Alonso had been substantiated.
The midfielder, who joined Real Madrid in 2009, is the latest in a string of footballers to be pursued by the Spanish tax authorities.
Other footballers who have been accused of tax fraud in Spain include:
- Real Madrid player Marcelo, who was accused of tax fraud totalling €490,000 (£436,000; $576,000) in a case dating back to 2013.
- Barcelona and Argentina footballer Lionel Messi, who was handed a 21-month suspended jail term. His father Jorge, who manages his finances, was also convicted
- Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano – also an Argentine – who admitted tax fraud, escaping a jail term with a one-year suspended sentence
- Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, who was arrested in May 2017 as part of a money-laundering investigation
- Real Madrid and Portugal player Cristiano Ronaldo, who denies the accusation of evading millions of euros
- Manchester United manager José Mourinho, who is accused of irregularities while he was Real Madrid coach from 2011 to 2012, which he denies