Lionel Messi will face an intense month of April. Apart from Barcelona’s busy fixture schedule, with crucial La Liga and Champions League matches to come, the Argentine will also have to keep an eye on proceedings at the high court. There, the court will review the appeal against the tax fraud charge that Messi and his father incurred in respect of the 2007, 2008, and 2009 financial years.
In July, Lionel and Jorge Messi were sentenced to 21 months in prison for defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of €4.1 million. The sentence is highly-likely to be suspended, as a first time offence carrying a sentence of less than three years.
The magistrate will be Luciano Varela, and it will take place behind closed doors.
Sandwiched between Juventus and Real Madrid
The hearing will be held on the 20th of April, three days before Barcelona will play Real Madrid in a potentially-crucial Clásico at the Santiago Bernabéu, and one day after Barça face Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Messi contract negotiations must continue
Barcelona are unsure of what the ultimate decision will be, but are clear that it must not interfere with the ongoing contract negotiations with Messi, whose current contract will expire in 2019. Discussions have been ongoing for some time, but are not progressing as quickly as those upstairs at Camp Nou would have hoped.