French international Benjamin Mendy, acquitted this year by the British courts of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault when he played in England, is in the starting line-up for the first time this season with Lorient, who host Marseille this Sunday (20:45 p.m.) to close the 15th matchday of Ligue 1.
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The 2018 World Cup winner, whose recruitment this summer by the Breton club created controversy, has not started a match since mid-August 2021, when he was under contract with Manchester City.
The most expensive defender in history when he was recruited by the Citizens in 2017, Mendy was accused of several rapes and sexual assaults in August 2021, the beginning of a parenthesis of more than two years in his career and a long and painful judicial interlude.
Although he has always denied the facts and finally obtained a complete acquittal from the British justice system in two stages, in January and then June, the hearings have lifted the veil on a way of life that seems far removed from the requirements expected of a high-level sportsman.
The announcement of his recruitment this summer by FC Lorient has provoked angry reactions. Several collage campaigns targeting him or denouncing sexist violence in football have since been carried out on the walls around the Moustoir stadium, where the Breton clu plays.