Lionel Messi’s older brother, Matias Messi, has been sentenced to 30-month jail time for illegally possessing a firearm in 2017.
An automatic 380 caliber pistol with six intact cartridges were found inside a blood-stained boat which Matias crashed in the Parana River, the second-longest river in South America after the Amazon.
Messi reportedly suffered injuries to his lip, skull, and had a fractured jaw, and was assisted at the time of the accident by a mooring keeper who said he hit a sandbar near a fishing club, 35 kilometers south of Rosario in Argentina.
Messi denied ownership of the gun. “I always maintained that the weapon was not mine, but the boat [was], so the weapon was found inside the boat and I have to take responsibility,” he said.
Messi will be spared jail as his two and a half year sentence is suspended, but during that time he must refrain from abuse of drugs and alcohol and undergo psychological treatment. He cannot commit any other crimes.
Instead, he will perform community service, teaching soccer to children, for eight hours every month until his sentence is over.