Lionel Messi has confirmed he will appeal a decision by Spanish prosecutors stating he must stand trial over allegations of tax evasion.
The Barcelona star and his father and agent, Jorge Messi, were accused of defrauding authorities over a tax amount totalling €4.1 million between 2006 and 2009.
It is alleged that Messi's image rights were sold by Jorge – who assumed full responsibility when the case began – using companies in countries like Belize and Uruguay to avoid Spanish tax obligations.
A judge at a court in Gava, near Barcelona, determined earlier on Friday that the 27-year-old would have to face trial over the allegations, despite his pleas that he was neither guilty nor fully aware of the suggested impropriety.
However, Messi has confirmed his intention to appeal the latest decision.
In a statement, the Argentina captain said: "Through this press release I want to communicate that, after having received the order of the court of Gava this afternoon and following the professional advice of my solicitors, I have decided to appeal against it."
Messi and his father made a voluntary payment of just over €5m – the total alleged amount – last year in an effort to bring the matter to a close, but authorities have opted to pursue the case.