Despite being awarded the Golden Ball as the best player at the 2014 World Cup this summer, FC Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi is not above the law.
A prosecutor had requested the charges against Messi to be dropped but a Spanish judge has rejected that and ordered the investigation into multiple cases of suspected unpaid taxes to go ahead.
Messi, 27, and his father Jorge have both denied any wrongdoing. Jorge is currently under investigation for allegedly failing to pay over $5 million in unpaid taxes from 2007-09.
A court statement said there is “sufficient evidence” to believe Messi “could have known and consented” to setting up a fake corporate structure to avoid paying taxes on income made from his own image rights.
Monday’s statement from the court in Gava, Barcelona, all comes after Messi’s PR firm claimed that the prosecutor had dropped the fraud case against the four-time FIFA World Player of the Year back in June.
We are sure to hear more about this in the coming weeks.
The headlines will be gained by the second iteration of Pep vs. Mou in a Manchester Derby, but all three matches have something for the neutral.
West Ham United vs. Chelsea— 2:45 p.m. ET
Both London clubs have issued statements begging their fans to leave the intensity to the players on the field, as the Hammers and Blues’ always percolating rivalry heads for the boiler.
Chelsea knocked off West Ham at Stamford Bridge back in August, but the hosts looked very good despite underwhelming finishing in this weekend’s 1-0 win over Sunderland. That said, Chelsea had no problem finishing at all when it clobbered Manchester United on Sunday.
This sets up to be a beauty.
Southampton vs. Sunderland — 2:45 p.m. ET
The St. Mary’s set sure would like to clinch another season of European football, and is four wins away from getting that done via the EFL Cup route.
As for Sunderland, it will take any momentum it can muster from Wednesday’s match. The Black Cats have been very poor, with just two points from its first nine Premier League matches, but handled QPR and Shrewsbury Town to reach the Round of 16.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City — 3 p.m. ET
The “primetime” match — by 15 whole minutes — gives Manchester United a chance to right several ships by taking down Pep Guardiola‘s clipper.
Neither side is in tremendous shape right now, though City remains atop the Premier League table. The tactics will be interesting as neither manager will have any interest in blowing off this EFL Cup Round of 16 tie.
City has won two of the last three Cups, while United hasn’t been to this tournament’s final since its last win in 2010.
The “Rafalution” has Benitez’s Magpies atop the Championship, and they are thriving in the EFL Cup as well.
Mo Diame gave Newcastle an insurance goal after Aleksandar Mitrovic headed a Matt Ritchie free kick home to make it 1-0. In between those goals, Preston went down a man.
Spark plug Ritchie buried a penalty early in the second half to make it academic. Mitrovic added his second in the 55th minute, while Diame completed his brace with three minutes to play and Ayoze Perez finished the scoring in stoppage time.
Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Daniel Sturridge went to the dirty areas to poke home a very Daniel Sturridge goal, the first of two on the night in a win at Anfield.
Sturridge gave American centerback Cameron Carter-Vickers headaches all day, and Spurs goalkeeper Michel Vorm helped keep the match within a goal.
But Sturridge beat Kevin Wimmer‘s offside track and walked in alone on Vorm to slot home for a strengthened lead.
There wasn’t much to like at Ashton Gate before Harry Maguire put the Tigers up before the break. That may have weakened the hosts’ resolve, and Michael Dawson netted right after halftime to double Hull’s advantage.
Lee Tomlin scored a goal for Bristol City just before the final whistle.
2009 – Michael Dawson has scored his first League Cup goal since January 2009 (for Spurs v Burnley). Wait.
Longtime Spurs property Alex Pritchard has his first Canaries goal with this marker at Elland Road. Leeds had a goal pulled back for a handball, and then equalized properly through Marcus Antonsson. That 1-1 score line held up through 90 minutes