Benjamin Mendy, during his testimony at his trial, vividly expressed the reckless journey that eventually led him to prison. The footballer faced accusations of nine sex offenses, shedding light on his party lifestyle. Reflecting on his 134 days on remand, Mendy acknowledged that his behavior towards women was unacceptable, despite claiming that any sexual encounters were consensual.
During the retrial, it was revealed that Mendy showed little regard for a complainant’s distress at his Cheshire home, with the prosecution arguing that he had a persistent disregard for the word “no.” Mendy himself acknowledged that he was aware he didn’t possess the physical appeal of Brad Pitt, yet he boasted to one complainant about sleeping with 10,000 women. He attributed much of the attention he received to his high-profile status as a World Cup winner and three-time Premier League champion.
Eleanor Laws KC, Mendy’s barrister, declared during the first trial’s closing speech that his previous life was irreparably damaged, and he would forever be associated with these allegations. In the second trial, Laws KC highlighted numerous falsehoods and inconsistencies in the testimonies of the remaining two complainants, yet the core accusation remained unchanged.
Seven months have passed since Mendy was acquitted of seven charges by a jury of seven men and four women at Chester Crown Court. Recently, he was found not guilty of the two remaining charges in the same building. However, this leaves the footballer facing an uncertain future. Having last played a meaningful game 23 months ago, Mendy is now a free agent after his contract with Manchester City expired on July 1.
Should he choose to return to English football, the validity of Laws KC’s claim that he can never escape the allegations will be tested by the reactions of rival supporters when he steps onto the pitch. History has shown that carrying personal baggage makes playing in packed stadiums an uncomfortable experience, regardless of court acquittals.
Mendy, a World Cup winner with France in 2018 and a three-time Premier League champion with City, enjoyed considerable success in terms of silverware, even though he rarely played a full season’s worth of games. However, throughout his career at Le Havre, Marseille, Monaco, and City, there was a pervasive sense among coaches and teammates that he lacked focus and was easily distracted by a life filled with partying.
Even during his childhood, there were signs of this undisciplined streak. At seven years old, Mendy was hit by a car while chasing a football onto a road. Although he escaped with minor injuries, his mother, Monique, frequently recounted the story, emphasizing his tendency to have his “head in the clouds.”
Marcelo Bielsa, the former head coach of Leeds who worked with Mendy at Marseille, once reprimanded him for falling asleep during a team meeting focused on tactics. Bielsa’s message to Mendy was clear: Wake up, pay attention, and be fully aware. Mendy acknowledged the impact of that moment, stating that he learned from it and asked questions, which proved invaluable to his development.
However, even after moving from Marseille to Monaco, Mendy’s undisciplined nature persisted, despite his on-pitch brilliance attracting the attention of Manchester City. Upon arriving in Manchester in the summer of 2017 for a transfer fee exceeding £50 million, it became evident that Mendy had a fondness for humor. His Twitter account became a hub for banter, with playful jabs aimed at rivals, teammates, followers, and even himself, often accompanied by a shark emoji.
During the trial, Pep Guardiola, Mendy’s coach at City, testified to his positive character, describing him as a generous individual. However, the prosecution depicted him as a “predatory, serial rapist” living in a fantasy world. The verdicts from the two separate juries, consisting of seven men and four women each, contradicted this portrayal, as they found Mendy not guilty on most charges.
While testifying during the retrial, Mendy acknowledged that he engaged in banter and flirting with one woman, jokingly claiming he would “kidnap her” while she was seeing one of his friends. He openly admitted to having no interest in seeing many of the women he slept with again, as if life itself were one big game. Nevertheless, he vehemently denied ever forcing a woman to have sex with him, a point on which two separate juries reached a consensus.
In conclusion, Benjamin Mendy’s journey has taken him from the heights of sporting success to the depths of a criminal trial. While he has been acquitted of most charges, the impact on his personal and professional life is undeniable. The future remains uncertain for the footballer, as he contemplates his next steps after his contract with Manchester City expired. Ultimately, the reaction of rival supporters and the footballing world at large will determine whether Mendy can truly escape the shadow of these allegations.