Lionel Messi has been accused of tax fraud to the tune of £3.4million. And reports in Spain suggest the Barcelona superstar could face up to six years in jail if he is found guilty.
A lawsuit was lodged against the Barcelona forward and his father by a state prosecutor for the north eastern region of Catalonia.
The complaint has been submitted for trial in Gava, the upscale Barcelona district where the 25-year-old lives.
Claim: Lionel Messi (centre) has been accused of tax fraud, along with his father, to the tune of £3.4
Father and son: Messi posing with his dad Jorge Horacio Messi (R) in 2008
Both Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio, are accused of three offences against the public purse for allegedly defrauding more than £3.4m in income tax returns relating to the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
A judge at the courthouse must accept the prosecutor's lawsuit before charges can be brought.
Spanish news agency EFE are reporting that Messi could face up to six years in jail and a large fine if convicted.
Barcelona declined to comment on the lawsuit while Messi expressed his surprise.
He said: 'We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about those news, because we have never committed any infringement.
'We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advices of our Tax Consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation.'
Messi is enjoying a day off after playing for his national team in Quito, where Argentina was held to 1-1 by Ecuador in a qualifying match for the World Cup.
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has said Messi was expected to be included in the lineup for a friendly against Guatemala on Friday.
Nervous wait: Messi and his father are yet to be charged but stand accused of income tax fraud