A football world champion accused of eight rapes, an attempted rape and a sexual assault in England: the trial of Benjamin Mendy opens Wednesday in Chester, far from the lawns where the French had a turbulent career.
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The 28-year-old footballer is accused by seven women and denies the ten charges, which relate to events that allegedly took place between October 2018 and August 2021 at his home in Prestbury, Cheshire.
Read alsoFive questions to understand the Benjamin Mendy affair
He is on trial alongside another man, Louis Saha Matturie -unrelated to former footballer Louis Saha-, prosecuted for eight rapes and four sexual assaults on eight women between July 2012 and August 2021. The latter has also pleaded not guilty.
Winner of the 2018 World Cup with the France team, where he played the role of good comrade if not one of the key players, Benjamin Mendy left the lawns for almost a year for the bench of the defendants and the cells of the prisons of Liverpool and Manchester, where he spent more than four months, from August 2021 to January 2022, in pre-trial detention.
Released in early January, he was placed under judicial supervision pending trial.
Mendy has not played a single football match since August 15, 2021 with his Manchester City club, which suspended him when the case started.
Read alsoBenjamin Mendy, the descent into hell of a world champion
The career of the native of Longjumeau, in the Paris region, had however, until then, followed an upward trajectory, with a long-term contract in one of the best European clubs, Manchester City, a world title with the France team. , but also several trophies in England and a surprise victory in Ligue 1 in 2017 with AS Monaco and his Monegasque partner Kylian Mbappé.
Social media geek
At that time, Mendy conveyed the image of the teaser of his respective teams, the bon vivant always ready to turn on his portable speakers and play the role of DJ in the bus or the locker room, to start a dance à la celebration of the slightest goal of his teammates or multiplying the "
" on Instagram, he is the hyperactive of social networks.
On the field, he is a powerful left-back, focused on attack and dangerous in percussion, even if he sometimes struggles to control his weight and experiences a few periods of physical poor shape, negligence regularly noted by his coaches.
The physical glitches, above all, caught up with him in his early twenties, between a serious right knee injury before the 2018 World Cup, a left operation four months later, then another meniscus affected in early 2019.
I do not despair
” that he “
takes more care of his body
”, the pique moreover the coach Didier Deschamps in November 2019, when he recalls to the Blues the one to whom he had granted only forty minutes of play during the epic of the Tricolors in Russia, in 2018, as a lining for Lucas Hernandez.
Already pinned for his behavior
A few months earlier, Mendy had already been singled out for his behavior by his Manchester coach, Pep Guardiola, after a nightclub outing revealed in the local press.
They're old enough to know what to do, I'm not his father.
I would prefer him to go home early, but I don't control the players in this situation
, ”lamented the Spanish technician about his defender recruited for 58 million euros in 2017, which also makes the front page of the ruthless tabloids English in 2020, when his Lamborghini was seized, driven without a license or insurance by the French international.
Trained in Le Havre before a stint in Marseille (2013-2016), preamble to his triumphant season in Monaco, Mendy ultimately never managed to break into the French team: he has only 10 selections in the blue jersey, only one since 2018.
Four years later, the laughing smile of Moscow has given way to the grin of courtrooms in the west of England, where the ex-promise of the France team faces ten counts including eight for rape.