By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Former Chelsea and Real Madrid defender Ricardo Carvalho was sentenced to seven months in prison and fined 142,882 euros ($167,000) on Friday for crimes against the Spanish tax authority, a Spanish court filing said.
Spanish law is such that any sentence under two years for a non-violent crime rarely requires a defendant without previous convictions to serve jail time.
Carvalho, 39, who now plays for Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG, was found guilty of hiding income from image rights in 2011 and 2012 while playing for Real, where he played between 2010 and 2013, avoiding 545,981 euros in tax.
He returned the amount and pleaded guilty to the charges, which the court said in a statement lead to his sentence being reduced from the Spanish public prosecutor's recommendation of 12 months in prison with a 300,000 euro fine.
Carvalho is the latest player to have fallen foul of tax law in Spain.
In 2016 Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi was found guilty of defrauding the Spanish state of 4.2 million euros and handed a jail sentence of 21 months.
Real Madrid's top goal-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo attended a court hearing in July to answer allegations he avoided 14.7 million euros. No formal charges have been made against him.
Monaco forward Radamel Falcao, Sporting Lisbon's Fabio Coentrao and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho have also faced investigation by Spanish authorities for tax evasion while they lived in Spain.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Janet Lawrence)