Lionel Messi, father get 21-month prison term in tax case, but will avoid jail.

Lionel Messi has been sentenced 21 months in prison for tax fraud, but the Barcelona superstar is unlikely to spend any time behind bars.

His father and agent Jorge Messi was also given a jail term by Barcelona court yesterday for evading £3.5m worth of taxes in Spain between 2007 and 2009.

They also face millions of euros in fines for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.

But under the Spanish system, prison terms of under two years can be served under probation.

The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish supreme court.

Messi recently announced that he is quitting the Argentina national team after losing in the third major final, when his side lost to Chile in the Copa America last week.

And now Sergio Agüero could follow him out.

The Manchester City striker’s father Leonel del Castillo says: “If Leo goes, I think Sergio will too.

“He’ll leave it to the next generation.”

Albiceleste Gerardo Martino yesterday resigned leaving the national team in turmoil.