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Barcelona's Lionel Messi, father will stand tax trial; face 22-month sentence

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop tells Alexis Nunes that Johan Cruyff's questioning of Cristiano Ronaldo's team ethic was justified.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Barcelona's recent performances without Lionel Messi, and what they might need to do in order to perform well in his absence.
From Sevilla manager's first victory over FC Barcelona to the La Liga record for penalties conceded in the Madrid derby, here's 5 things you didn't know about this week's La Liga action.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father Jorge are to both stand trial for three counts of tax fraud against the Spanish tax authorities with the state attorney demanding a 22-month jail sentence, according to court documents made public on Thursday.

Messis Sr and Jr are each accused of defrauding Spain's tax office of €4.1 million ($4.5m) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09.

Earlier this week it was reported that Barcelona prosecutors had cleared the Blaugrana player, alleging that he had...

Argentina v Ecuador: Preview

12:00 AM UTC
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Argentina forward Sergio Aguero claims he feels no added pressure to wear the number 10 jersey of injured superstar and captain Lionel Messi when the national team takes on Ecuador on Friday.

The Manchester City player believes that for a very good reason.

He is two goals away from joining Diego Maradona at the top of Argentina's all-time goalscoring charts.

Aguero, 27, is red hot, too, having scored five goals in 20 minutes in City's 6-1 Premier League triumph over Newcastle.

The two sides meet in Buenos...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi tells Sergio Aguero to wear his No. 10 for Argentina

The ESPN FC crew discuss whether Sergio Aguero could be considered the third-best player in the world following his five-goal match against Newcastle over the weekend.
Relive the most exciting moments in the past week of world football including five goals from Sergio Aguero, fancy footwork and some jaw dropping strikes.
The ESPN FC panel go over their English Premier League team of the weekend, as Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez remain the top players.
Sergio Aguero's quintuple against Newcastle United catapulted Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says Sergio Aguero deserved his five-goal haul in the 6-1 win over Newcastle, after a difficult run of form for the Argentine forward.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop singles out 5-goal Sergio Aguero and David Silva in the 6-1 thrashing of Newcastle.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero equaled the Premier League record for goals in one game with five against Newcastle United.

Sergio Aguero  will adopt the No. 10 shirt for Argentina while it is left vacant due to the injury of its usual wearer, Lionel Messi.

Messi suffered a knee injury last month  and will not take up his usual role as Argentina captain when the Albiceleste take on Ecuador on Thursday in the first of two CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.

"I spoke to the kitman and he told me it is obligatory -- someone has to use it because the numbers go from 1 to 23," Aguero told the Manchester City website.


ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Paulo Dybala says Argentina rewarded his patience

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes discusses Gonzalo Higuain's omission from the Argentina squad for their opening WCQ matches, while Paulo Dybala received a call-up for his fine form with Juventus.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala said that his patience was rewarded with his first call-up for the Albiceleste's two opening World Cup qualifying games against Ecuador and Paraguay.

Dybala, 21, signed for Juventus over the summer in a €32 million move after scoring 13 Serie A goals for Palermo last season.

He had options to play for Poland, Italy or Argentina because of his family ancestry, but said he always wanted to play for Argentina.

"Last year [Argentina coach Gerardo] Martino came to Palermo,"...

 By Tim Vickery

Questions loom over Chile, Argentina in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying

Arturo Vidal helped Chile win the Copa America. But can his national side back that success up in the World Cup qualifiers?

Ahead of the first stanza of CONMEBOL qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, ESPN FC's Tim Vickery takes a look at four key questions from the fixtures...

Chile vs. Brazil

Chile have climbed the mountain. Now can they stay there?

Two months ago, after almost a century of waiting, Chile finally had something to put in their trophy cabinet when they won the Copa America on home soil. Will this spur them on to greater triumphs? Or does it represent a high water mark?

The nearest equivalent comes 14 years...