- Lionel Messi risks being banned from gaining access to the United Kingdom
- The Argentine star has a suspended jail term hovering over him after being convicted for evading tax in Spain
- Messi opened his goal account for Barcelona in their 4-0 win over Valencia at Camp Nou
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi might be denied access to the United Kingdom to play against any Premier League side should Great Britain succeed in pulling out of the European set up.
The Argentine forward was slammed with 21-month suspended prison sentence by the Spanish courts having being found guilty of evading tax in the country.
Although, he was allowed to pay a fine in exchange for serving his term behind bars like many other superstars found in the act.
However, what poses more threats on Messi playing in the UK for Barca is that he is not European, hence he might not be allowed to enter into the country.
Meanwhile, Daily Mail reports that the 32-year-old as had no issue so far due to the dual Spanish-Argentine passport he possess, making him an EU citizen.
And that qualifies him to travel to the country since he was not sentenced for violent acts.
Messi will now be threatened with the problem of going to the UK should be successful with their plans leave the European Union.
Daily Mail quoting Athletic reported that immigration lawyer Andrew Osbourne of firm Lewis Silkin confirmed the development.
He said: "There is a specific point around European games. If you are an EU citizen with a criminal conviction, you can travel to the UK, as long as you are not deemed to be a threat to national security.
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"If you are not an EU citizen and have a conviction or prison sentence imposed - even if suspended - you are banned from coming to the UK.
"There are a number of very famous footballers with convictions and suspended sentences for tax evasion. They, thus far, have not had to worry as they have EU passports.
"But post-Brexit, they potentially may not be able to enter the country (as they will be treated like non-EU nationals).
"Anyone with a prison sentence of any sort, the starting point is you are not allowed in.
"This could provide disruption to Champions League squads and also whether they (UEFA) will play finals in England if players potentially may not be able to come in. Clubs will need to take steps."
Messi might however be handed an exemption by the Home Office if the situation eventually arise.
On the other hand, the Argentine opened his goals account for the Catalans this campaign with a superb free kick from 25 yards.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Lionel Messi scored his first La Liga goal of the season in their 4-0 win over Valencia at the Camp Nou.
The 32-year-old forward powered home a 25-yard free kick to complete his side's demolition over their Spanish League rivals.
Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and Ousmane Dembele have earlier scored a goal each in the game.
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