Football star Lionel Messi could avoid a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud by paying a fine, Spanish media are reporting.

Spain's state prosecutor would swap jail time for a fine of €255,000 ($285,000; £224,000), which equates to €400 for each day behind bars.

The final decision on the fine rests in the hands of the Spanish courts.

Messi, along with his father Jorge, was found guilty of defrauding Spain of €4.1m between 2007 and 2009.

The court in Barcelona found they used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay.

As well as the jail terms, the Barcelona star and Argentina international was fined about €2m and his father €1.5m. They made a voluntary €5m "corrective payment", equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest, in August 2013.

Messi's appeal against the sentence was rejected by the Supreme Court last month, but his father's jail time was reduced because he paid some of the taxes.

However, Messi was never expected to serve time in jail, as under the Spanish system, prison terms of under two years can be served under probation.

Lionel Messi's highs and lows

Lionel Messi 'could swap tax fraud jail sentence for fine'

Reached 500 goals for Barcelona in April 2017

Winner of Fifa Ballon d'Or as world's best footballer on five occasions – a record

Voted Uefa best player in Europe three times

Uefa Champions League winner with FC Barcelona on four occasions

Spanish championship winner with FC Barcelona eight times

Holds the record for most goals in Spain's La Liga

Olympic gold medallist with Argentina in 2008

Argentina's all-time leading scorer with 55 goals

…and major disappointments:

June 16, 2016: Quits Argentine team after missing penalty in shootout in Copa America final loss to Chile (he later reversed the decision)

it was the fourth major final defeat for Argentina in nine years

other three losses: Copa America (2015) again to Chile (again on penalties); 2014 World Cup to Germany; Copa America (2007) against Brazil

Messi is not the only football star to find himself in trouble over his tax affairs.

Cristiano Ronaldo could be charged with tax fraud after Spain's tax office passed a file onto prosecutors.

Reports in Spain last month said the Portuguese Real Madrid striker, 32, is suspected of defrauding €15m(£13m) between 2011 and 2014.

Meanwhile, José Mourinho's advisers have denied allegations that the Manchester United manager defrauded Spain of €3.3m (£2.9m; $3.6m) in taxes while he was Real Madrid coach from 2011 to 2012.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.