Former Real Madrid and Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has been accused of tax evasion and could face eight and a half years in prison, according to a judicial source.
The former Spanish international is accused of three crimes of tax fraud between 2010 and 2012, for income related to the exploitation of his image rights.
The complaint against Alonso is that he avoided paying taxes on his image rights in Spain by handing the rights to a company based on the Portuguese island of Madeira, where he was exempt from taxes.
The Madrid court in charge of the investigation reopended the case at the end of 2017 after the judges on appeal found the facts alleged against Alonso were “sufficiently substantiated”.
Alonso is not the first football star to have been in trouble over Spanish tax in recent years.
Some have admitted fraud in exchange for a sentence to avoid jail, like Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez, former Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano and Real Madrid defender Marcelo.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was fined 2.1 million euros for tax evasion and a sentence of 21 months in prison, subsequently issued as a fine.
Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo was also charged with alleged fraud of 14.7 million euros, which he denied.