Javier Mascherano’s lawyers are seeking to convert a one-year prison sentence into a fine after the Barcelona midfielder admitted two counts of tax fraud, according to reports in Spain.
The 31-year-old appeared in court on Thursday and accepted the one-year sentence as well as a fine of 815.000 euros (£625,000), although it is expected he will not serve any prison time with his legal representatives having requested the sentence be suspended and replaced with a fine.
Mascherano, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2010, admitted fraud last year and according to a court filing has repaid 1.75million euros (£1.35m), the full amount he owed plus interest.
Following Thursday’s ruling, the Argentina international released a statement via his Twitter account and the Barcelona website in which he said: “I’m a sporting professional, I don’t have a great understanding of tax and legal matters.
“Therefore, to deal with what are for me technical and complicated matters, I have to rely on other people.
“Throughout all my career I have been an honest person, responsible and respectful of my team-mates and the clubs that I have played for and the countries I have lived in.
”’I reserve the possibility of action against those who have badly advised me by recommending something that was not right.”
In November the father of fellow Barcelona star Neymar admitted his son was “very insecure and uneasy” about staying in Spain after a number of investigations into their tax situation.