Xabi Alonso acquitted of tax fraud by Spanish court

Former Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso has been cleared of three counts of tax fraud in a Madrid court.

Alonso, who retired in 2017, was accused of defrauding the Spanish tax office of €2 million from 2010 to 2012 while on the books at Real Madrid, and of allegedly creating a tax haven for unpaid taxes on the revenue of image rights.

If found guilty, Alonso would have faced up to a five-year prison sentence and a €4m fine.

Unlike other high-profile players, Alonso refused to accept a plea bargain and always maintained his innocence.

Alonso's advisors, Ivan Zaldua Azcuenaga and Ignasi Maestre Casanovas, were also cleared of any wrongdoing.

Many high-profile football players have been investigated for tax fraud in Spain. Recently, former Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, now with Juventus, accepted a €19m fine and received a 23-month suspended sentence for tax fraud, while Barcelona star Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month sentence and paid back approximately €17m in back taxes in his settlement.

Alonso joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 in a £30m move from Liverpool. He spent five seasons with Madrid before joining Bayern Munich in the summer of 2014.

The 37-year-old is now coaching Real Sociedad's reserves.