Lionel Messi’s brother has been sentenced for possessing an illegal firearm. The Barcelona star’s sibling, Matias, received a two-and-a-half year prison sentence on Thursday but instead of going to jail, he will undertake community service.
Argentine newspaper, La Capital, report that the decision was reached through a deal with investigating prosecutors.
The firearm was found late in 2017 inside a blood-stained boat, which Matias crashed in the Parana River.
The 35-year-old was initially held under preventive arrest and later released while he recovered from a fractured jaw and other injuries in the Santa Fe province of Argentina.
Matias’ lawyer originally argued that his client crashed the boat into a sandbank and denied that he owned the gun.
This isn’t the first time Matias has had brushes with the law for allegedly illegally carrying a firearm. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s brother, who has been linked with known criminals in the past, was held for 16 hours in a prison cell for in 2015 after officers found an an unlicensed 22-caliber gun in his car.
He was also arrested in 2008 for allegedly having a loaded gun in his belt. Matias is the middle brother in the Messi family, with Rodrigo aged 38 and Lionel aged 31. The trio also have a younger sister, 31, called Maria.
Matias and Rodrigo helped the Argentina international build up a huge passion for football by playing constantly together when they were younger.
Matias – alongside his mother, Celia María Cuccittini helps manage the Barcelona forward’s charitable organisation, the Leo Messi Foundation.