Barcelona are one of the biggest clubs in the world with some of the best players in the world, yet, they find themselves in muddy water more often that is expected of a club of their stature. With big players comes the responsibility of ensuring none of them gets on the wrong side of the law given the implications it could have on the club.
But amazingly, a host of current and former Barcelona players have been accused of tax evasion and have even been fined and slapped with jail terms. It's no coincidence that only Barcelona's players are caught as we're yet to learn the reason as to why this happens.
Maybe the club has poor financial advisers or the players are influenced heavily by their families to invest in shady agreements that ultimately comes back to bite them. Whatever the reason, association with Barcelona means you have a file in the Agencia Tributaria.
Here are five current and former Barcelona players who have caught for tax evasion:
#5 Javier Mascherano
Javier Mascherano may be one of Barcelona's most underrated players given how much he bails them out every now and then on the field. Yet between 2011 and 2011, the Argentine failed to pay taxes mounting up to €1.5 million.
Mascherano was subsequently questioned by the tax authorities and sentenced to a year in jail along with having to pay a fine of €800,000. The main charge was that Mascherano was concealing part of what he earned from his image rights – both with the club and a host of his sponsors. However, Mascherano didn't need to serve jail term with lawyers mooting with the idea of replacing it with a bigger fine.
“I’m a sporting professional, I don’t have a great understanding of tax and legal matters,” he said shortly after being accused.
“Therefore, to deal with what are for me technical and complicated matters, I have to rely on other people. Throughout all my career I have been an honest person, responsible and respectful of my team-mates and the clubs that I have played for and the countries I have lived in.
“I reserve the possibility of action against those who have badly advised me by recommending something that was not right.”