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Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso in court facing tax fraud charges

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Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has appeared in court to face charges of tax fraud.

Prosecutors are claiming three counts of tax fraud took place between 2010 and 2012 when Alonso was playing for Real Madrid, according to an agency report.

Alonso was in a Madrid court on Wednesday as part of a two-day hearing concerning allegations he used a company based on the Portuguese island of Madeira to avoid paying taxes on his image rights to the Spanish authorities.

And earlier in the year, both Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and former Manchester United and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho struck similar deals with the Spanish authorities.

Alonso, currently manager of Real Sociedad's B team, has always protested his innocence and is the only player to have gone to trial rather than pay the Spanish Treasury the tax it is claiming plus fines, with authorities pursuing a long list of high-profile football figures over the declaration of income from image rights.

And the 37-year-old, who won the Champions League with the Reds in 2005, could face a five-year prison sentence and a £3.5million fine if convicted.

Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa and Barcelona's Gerard Pique both paid fines as part of a deal after being convicted last summer.
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