Manchester United's Chile forward Alexis Sanchez has missed the start of the Premier League club's pre-season tour of the United States due to a visa problem.
Speaking from Los Angeles, a spokeswoman for the club said United still hoped the 29-year-old would be able to join them once his “personal administrative issue” had been resolved.
British media reported on Monday that Sanchez was understood to have failed to get a US visa due to a 16-month suspended jail sentence imposed by a Spanish court in February for tax fraud.
He was accused of defrauding the Spanish state of a combined $1.2 million (Sh120m) in image rights when playing for Barcelona in 2012 and 2013 by using a shell company in Malta and omitting the earnings from tax returns.
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.
The BBC reported that Sanchez, who was training with United last week after a summer break without any World Cup action, was working with his lawyers to secure entry to the US under a waiver scheme.
The rest of the squad, without the club’s World Cup players, departed on Sunday.
If Sanchez fails to secure entry to the US, United have a friendly at Bayern Munich on August 5.
Meanwhile, new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has spoken of his excitement at facing many of the world’s leading managers now that he in charge of a Premier League side.
The Italian’s arrival at Stamford Bridge, where he replaces compatriot Antonio Conte, sees him join a multi-national cast of managers in English football’s top-flight, with Spain’s Pep Guardiola in charge of champions Manchester City, Argentina’s Mauricio Pochettino the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Portugal’s Jose Mourinho at the helm of Manchester United and Germany’s Jurgen Klopp in control at Liverpool.
“Chelsea is one of the most important clubs in the most important championship in Europe,” Sarri said when speaking to official club app the 5th Stand on Monday.
“In the Premier League there are all the most important coaches in Europe, maybe in the world.”