Lionel Messi denies knowledge of tax issues as he stands trial

Barcelona star tells the court he was concentrating on football

Lionel Messi,

Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi, left, leaves the court in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, June 2, 2016. Lionel Messi denied having knowledge of the tax issues that led to fraud charges against him, saying Thursday he signed documents without reading them because he trusted his father and the advisers responsible for managing his finances. “I didn’t know anything,” Messi said while testifying in his tax fraud trial. “I only worried about playing football.” (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi has denied knowledge of the tax issues that led to fraud charges against him.

The Argentine star has been giving evidence in court in the city, where he and his father are fighting accusations they defrauded Spain of £3 million (approximately €3.88 million).

Messi told the court he signed documents without reading them because he trusted his father.

"I was playing football, I knew nothing," he told the court.

Earlier, the BBC's Andy West explained the background to the case to the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk.

He explained that Messi's camp are not denying the allegations, but they are denying that the footballer knew anything about it.

West says: "Basically, he's blaming it all on his dad, with his dad's consent. It's quite common for South American footballers to have their family members managing their affairs, so rather than having professional accountants and lawyers, they just use their dads and that's what Messi does so it's his dad, Jorge, who is his manager and they've obviously agreed between them that it's all on the dad. Whether it's true or not is open to conjecture.

"He [Jorge] was the one responsible for managing all the affairs and Lionel, basically, says 'I don't ever look at my contracts, I just sign where my dad tells me to."