Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano receives 12-month prison sentence for tax avoidance

Javier Mascherano has been handed a 12-month prison sentence for tax avoidance offences.

The Barcelona defender will not serve any time incarcerated due to Spanish law, Spanish media outlet Sport report.

People handed sentences of two years or less are not required to serve any time behind bars in Spain unless the sentence has come about as a result of a violent crime.

Mascherano was handed separate four-month and eight-month sentences for offences which took place in 2011 and 2012.

He had already repaid the full €1.6million (£1.15million) debt owed to the tax authorities before he was given his sentence.

Spanish radio station Cadena SER claim Mascherano reached an agreement with the authorities to pay a fine of €816,000 (£588,000) on top of the fully repaid debt.

News agency EFE report Mascherano will be forced to serve the the sentence if he repeats the offence within the next year.

The Argentine played the full 90 minutes on Saturday as Barca drew 1-1 with Valencia.

Luis Suarez gave the champions the lead before Santi Mina hit back late on with Barca still top of La Liga.

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