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Xabi Alonso tax fraud case: Spanish prosecutors seek five-year sentence

Spanish authorities have reopened a tax fraud case against former Real Madrid player Xabi Alonso.

Spanish prosecutors are seeking a five-year prison sentence for Xabi Alonso, accusing the former Real Madrid midfielder and Spain international of three counts of tax fraud.

Alonso, 36, is accused of defrauding tax authorities of about €2 million by filing fraudulent tax returns in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Alonso, who retired last year after three seasons at Bayern Munich, played for Madrid from 2009 through 2014.

Prosecutors also want Alonso to pay a fine of €4m in addition to the amount allegedly defrauded. The irregularities are related to Alonso's income from image rights.

Prosecutors on Wednesday also sought prison sentences, fines and restitutions for Alonso's financial adviser, Ivan Zaldua Azcuenaga, and the administrator of his shell company, Ignasi Maestre Casanova.

All those accused have denied wrongdoing.

The case against Alonso had initially been dismissed but was reopened in January.

Alonso sold his image rights in 2012 for €5m to an investment firm, Kardzali Comercio Servicos de Consultoria e Investimentos, based on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

By receiving image rights income through companies, players can pay tax at the corporate income tax rate, which is much lower than the personal income tax rate that applies to their salaries.

Many players have been targeted by Spanish tax authorities in recent years, including Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who two years ago was found guilty -- along with his father -- of defrauding authorities of €4.1m.

Other players investigated in Spain include Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Marcelo, Alexis Sanchez, Ricardo Carvalho, Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano, Radamel Falcao and Fabio Coentrao.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is also being investigated for the time he worked at Real Madrid.

ESPN FC Spain correspondent Adriana Garcia contributed to this report.

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