Alexis Sanchez pleads guilty to Spain tax fraud to avoid trial - reports

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez has pleaded guilty to defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of almost €1 million by concealing part of what he earned from image rights during his time at Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.

Europa Press say Sanchez appeared via video link from London at a court in the Catalan city on Monday to plead guilty to the charges and add that he hopes to avoid going to trial having already paid back €983,443.

The public prosecutor's office initially filed the complaint against the Chile international after suspecting he had filed fraudulent tax returns in 2012 and 2013 while still a Barcelona player.

It was alleged at the time that he sought to conceal earnings from his image rights by using companies set up in Chile and Malta and that he defrauded the authorities of €587,677 in 2012 and €395,766 in 2013.

While Sanchez may not have to stand trial, his defence team will have to negotiate a fine with the Spanish tax authorities -- on top of what he has paid back -- and he may also be handed a minimal prison sentence.

However, as in the cases of current Barca players Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano, it would be a suspended sentence and therefore would not have to be served.

Argentine international Messi was found guilty of three counts of tax fraud last year and was fined and handed a suspended 21-month prison sentence.

Mascherano, meanwhile, entered a guilty plea for concealing part of what he earned from image rights and was fined and given a one-year prison sentence which was also suspended.