Football's squeaky clean poster boy Lionel Messi has just become embroiled in his first major scandal. It concerns the small matter of tax fraud, to the tune of around £3,400,000.
Messi is being perused by the cash strapped Spanish tax authorities for earnings relating to his image rights from 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, the year the Argentine won the first of his four Ballons d'Or.
The threat of jail is a very real one for the worlds most lauded and loved football star, if he is found guilty that is. The Barcelona star has a number of options right now, he can of course fight these allegations, or he could simply transfer to another club outside of Spain and put this 'Messi' situation behind him!
Where would he go, I hear you ask. Well lets take a look.
Option 1 – Chelsea (England)
The London club could afford the Argentine's wages and possibly his transfer fee if they pulled out all the stops. Here the Argentine would enjoy a lower tax rate of just 45% on his enormous wages, compared to his current rate of 56% in Spain.
Option 2 – Paris Saint Germain (France)
A move to Paris would see him reunited with former Barcelona team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic and he would become part of one of the most exciting projects in world football. One trade off though, would be the huge 75% tax rate being imposed on French millionaires. This fact could prove to be a major stumbling block in any negotiations!
Option 3 – AS Monaco (Monaco)
Playing for Monaco would see Messi team up with Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez, a mouth watering combination of players if ever there was one. Under current rules Messi would enjoy a huge tax break as residents of Monaco pay 0% income tax.
Whatever the outcome of this situation Messi has found himself in, I'm sure he'll still be revered just as he is now with football fans across the world.