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Messi’s tax mess

Barcelona — Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his father Jorge have paid €5 million to the Spanish authorities after they were accused in June of filing false tax returns, a court statement said today.

The pair had deposited €5,016,542.27 last month as a “corrective payment”, the court in Gava near Barcelona said.

They were still due to appear at a hearing on September 17, although their lawyer had asked for it to be postponed as he had another commitment that day, the statement added.

The Argentine World Player of the Year and his father, who both denied wrongdoing, allegedly hid more than €4 million by filing incomplete returns for the years 2006 to 2009.

The sale of Messi’s image rights had been hidden using a complex web of shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the prosecutor’s office for tax crimes in Catalonia said.

Messi is one of the world’s highest-paid athletes and earns just over $20 million a season in wages and bonuses, according to Forbes magazine. He also pulls in some $21 million in endorsements from partners including Adidas, PepsiCo, P&G and Turkish Airlines and is 10th on Forbes’s latest list of top-earning athletes.

Unhappy Van Persie

Robin Van Persie and David Moyes are not “adding up”.

Robin Van Persie and David Moyes are not “adding up”.

London — Manchester United player Robin Van Persie has told friends he is missing former boss Alex Ferguson and new manager David Moyes is still facing a battle to win over the star player.

According to The Daily Star, it is understood Van Persie has misgivings about some of Moyes’ training methods.

The report said that former Everton boss Moyes now has his work cut out to convince Van Persie he is the right man for the United hot seat.

Despite starting the season brightly, with two goals in the champions’ first two games, the 30-year-old appeared out of sorts in the goalless draw with Chelsea and 1-0 defeat at Liverpool, the report added.

Van Persie cut a frustrated figure at Anfield on Sunday and looked close to losing his cool several times, the report further said.

A friend of Van Persie said that the player was not happy and therefore he could not hide it on the pitch.

Ronaldo’s not amused

Madrid — Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo said he is angry at German playmaker Mesut Ozil’s departure to English football club Arsenal.

The Gunners secured a record 42.5 million pounds deal for the German on transfer deadline day which has left Ronaldo frustrated.

“The sale of Ozil is very bad news for me,” Ronaldo was quoted as saying in Spanish paper AS.

“He was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal. I’m angry about Ozil leaving.”

The German playmaker said that he didn`t want to leave the Spanish club but had no option left when the coach and club bosses had lost faith in him.

Ozil became the London club’s most expensive player in a club record deal.

German manager Joachim Low also expressed his surprise at Real Madrid letting go of Ozil.

“For me, it’s incomprehensible that Real would sell one of their top scorers. Mesut is a sensitive player and he needs the faith from the club and the coach.

“It seems that was not longer 100 percent there at Real whereas Arsenal and their coach Arsene Wenger pulled out all the stops to get him,” said Low.

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