Alexis Sanchez settles for 16-month suspended sentence in Spanish tax fraud case

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Sanchez has reached a settlement with the Spanish authorities.

Manchester United striker Alexis Sanchez has struck a deal with Spanish authorities to accept a 16-month suspended jail sentence for tax fraud in return for avoiding a trial.

Sanchez, who joined United from Arsenal last month, faced being tried over the fraud of 983,000 euros ($1.21 million) linked to image rights during his time at Spanish giants Barcelona, according to details of the deal seen by AFP.

Prosecutors said the 29-year-old Chilean forward had failed to declare any proceeds from the exploitation of his image rights in 2012 and 2013 and had also failed to declare that he was the owner of a company set up in Malta, Numidia Trading Limited, which owned the rights.

Appearing by video link from London, Sanchez admitted he had “made an incorrect tax payment” and that he had settled the issue with tax authorities.

He was sentenced to two eight-month suspended jail sentences to run consecutively, although prosecutors have called for the sentence to be lifted after two years if he does not re-offend.

Sanchez scored 47 goals in 141 appearances for Barcelona before leaving in 2014 to join Arsenal.

He is rumoured to be the highest paid player in the Premier League following his move to United, reportedly earning around £500,000 ($710,000, 571,000 euros) a week before tax.

Sanchez is one of a number of high-profile players to have fallen foul of the tax authorities in Spain.

Sanchez, along with Messi, is among several stars to fall foul of the tax laws.

Sanchez, along with Messi, is among several stars to fall foul of the tax laws.

In 2016, Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi was sentenced to a 21-month jail sentence that was eventually reduced to a fine of 2.1 million euros.

Last month, Real Madrid‘s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric paid Spanish fiscal authorities close to one million euros to settle his own image rights tax case.

The former Barcelona and Liverpool player Javier Mascherano has accepted a one-year suspended jail sentence over a 1.5-million-euro tax fraud.

In potentially the largest case, Spanish authorities are currently investigating World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid for tax fraud amounting to 14.7 million euros.

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Thibaut Courtois issues come-and-get-me plea to Real Madrid despite Chelsea contract talks

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Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois has issued a come-and-get-me plea to Real Madrid after saying his “heart is in Madrid”.

The 25-year-old goalkeeper is in the middle of negotiations for a new deal with Chelsea as his current contract expires next year.

Los Blancos have been linked with moves for a new No1 after missing out on Athletic Bilbao’s promising young goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga last month.

The reigning Spanish and European champions have reportedly switch their attentions back to Manchester United’s David De Gea but speaking with Belgian outlet Sport/Foot Magazine, Courtois spoke of his affection for Madrid.

“My personal situation is related to the city of Madrid,” he said. “My two children live there with their mum. I have my daughter every day on FaceTime. She often tells me that she misses me. My son is still too small to communicate like that.

“Whenever I have the opportunity, I try to return to Spain. As a situation, it is not always easy. Yes, my heart is in Madrid. It is logical and understandable.

“If they want me, they have to contact Chelsea. We’ll see. But they have not done that. What is certain is that one day I will return to Madrid. I love Spain, I love the city, I spent three wonderful years there [with Atletico Madrid]. It is there that I became an adult.

“Atletico was a real group of friends. We went out together and my team-mates taught me a language I did not know at all when I arrived. When I left, I cried. My first days in

Her first game in the stadium supporting daddy! 👧🏻💙

A post shared by Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) on

London were not easy. England, when I arrived, was colder, more business. Now, I feel very good here.

“I understand that the rumours are coming back today, as we are talking about a new goalkeeper there [at Real]. But I do not pay much attention to that, I stay focused on Chelsea.

“If Real are really interested, my personal situation could influence things. The family aspect is priceless. But I repeat to you that, for the moment, I’m busy talking to Chelsea to extend.”

Courtois is in contract negotiations with Chelsea and confirmed talks will continue this month.

He added: “We agreed to meet again in February because the club had more urgent issues to deal with in January.

“There is no rush, I am under contract until 2019. Normally, there is no problem, I will extend. I am happy here and I see a club that still wants to win a lot of titles. The signs are positive.

“Their desire to also extend Eden Hazard’s deal reassures me.”

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Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho praises 'incredible' Lionel Messi

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Barcelona attacker Philippe Coutinho has praised his new teammate Lionel Messi after his outstanding form for the La Liga giants this season.

Messi has enjoyed another scintillating campaign with the Camp Nou club, scoring 27 goals in 34 in all competitions.

Coutinho, a €160million arrival from Liverpool last month, says it is ‘incredible’ to step out at training and see the 30-year-old improving every day.

“It seems incredible, but every day Messi gets better, and as a team-mate I can only take advantage of my moments with him,” the Brazil international told 8TV .

“I’ve learned a lot from everyone and I’ve tried to take advantage of everything they taught me.”

The Brazilian is still settling into life at Barcelona, making four appearances for the club since returning from a thigh injury upon his arrival.

Barcelona are currently leading La Liga, nine points ahead of Atletico Madrid and 18 points ahead of third-place Valencia.

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