Messi tax trial begins in Barcelona

Messi and his father have been charged with three counts of tax fraud worth €4.1million dating back to a period from 2007 to 2009. The Barcelona and Argentina star will testify personally on Thursday - just four days before his country's opening Copa America fixture

Lionel Messi lawyer - cropped

Lionel Messi’s lawyer, Enrique Bacigalupo, at the entrance to the courthouse in Barcelona

The tax trial against Lionel Messi got under way in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Messi and his father have been charged with three counts of tax fraud worth €4.1million dating back to a period from 2007 to 2009.

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The Barcelona and Argentina star will testify personally on Thursday - just four days before his country's opening Copa America fixture against Chile in the United States - as he attempts to clear his name, but his lawyer Enrique Bacigalupo was present for the start of proceedings at the Eighth Court of Barcelona.

Messi had been set to avoid a trial on the grounds that his father Jorge Messi was apparently responsible for his son's tax obligations, but the state attorney later opted to overrule the advice of prosecutors and ordered both to take the stand.