Despite his acquittal on all but two charges, Benjamin Mendy may still struggle to shake the image portrayed of him in court – a sex-mad, out-of-control, multi-millionaire.
A Premier League star who didn’t care about the feelings or wellbeing of the women he slept with on an almost industrial scale.
What people may suspect some footballers get up to in their private lives has, in Mendy’s case at least, been revealed over the course of a six-month trial.
It was not just his behaviour and attitude towards women which was laid bare in court, but also the difficulties that football clubs have when their star players are off-duty.
Pep Guardiola, Mendy’s manager at Manchester City, told Chester Crown Court that “in their private life I don’t know what they do”.
“I don’t follow the players on social media, so I don’t know what they are doing outside my control in training sessions and in games,” he said, adding: “I’m not his father.”
Back in July 2017, Mendy became City’s then-record signing when, aged 23, he joined from Monaco for a reported transfer fee of £52m.
Described by the club’s director of football Txiki Begiristain as “one of the world’s best full-backs”, the France international was paid an estimated £90,000 a week.
In football, such deals come with a simple truth – for such high rewards, elite players are expected to focus all their efforts on the pitch.
Their clubs are often happy to spend whatever it takes to keep them happy off it.
Like all major clubs, City employs an army of staff to cater to their needs, with helpers who will pay bills, act as a 24-hour concierge and look after their fleets of luxury cars.
Jodie Deakin worked for the Premier League champions for 10 years as the men’s team support manager.
During Mendy’s trial, she said her “role was to look after the first-team players and the management staff in every aspect of their lives”.
“These boys don’t do anything for themselves,” she said.
Ms Deakin told the court how she would choose schools for the players’ children, deal with the banks, and check their homes for security.
She dealt with demands for payments from contractors who’d been working at Mendy’s house when he’d run out of money.
On one visit to the footballer’s Cheshire mansion, she advised him to increase security.
Soon afterwards, locks that could be activated by his fingerprints were fitted to the bedroom doors.
Ms Deakin said she wanted this “so he had a bit of sanctuary, to lock people out, and that was his safe haven”.
She also talked about the attraction footballers hold for many young women who frequent the same bars and clubs.
Ms Deakin described players like Mr Mendy as “magnets”.
“You can tell a mile off he’s a footballer, as they all have similar dress sense,” she said. “He drips in designer. A lot of girls would be attracted to that look.”
Mark Boixasa was the head of first-team operations and support at Manchester City for nine years.
Like Ms Deakin, his job involved helping new signings, as well as advising players about life after retirement.
Appearing for the defence, he told the court Mendy had suffered a number of long-term injuries and was “not the perfect professional”.
He added that the player was often late for work because he overslept.
Mendy’s agent, Meïsa N’Diaye, said that whenever his client wasn’t playing, he would go out a lot more and, in a written statement to the court, he said he had warned the player he had to make a choice about his life.
Mr N’Diaye said he was also aware the footballer was having a lot of short-term relationships and wasn’t interested in settling down.
As well as receiving help from Manchester City, Mendy employed his own staff, including a chef to provide food at parties he hosted at his mansion.
Cleaner Yvonne Shea, who worked 15 hours a week there, said she often arrived the morning after some of them.
She told the court that women, looking “a little worse for wear”, were sometimes still there and the house was a “catastrophe”, with discarded food and drink lying around.
Once she found a coffee table lying smashed on the floor.
“It was like windscreen glass, so that was all over everywhere,” she said.
She also said clothes were left lying around and if she found them near Mendy’s indoor swimming pool, she would “just gather it up”.
“Underwear I didn’t wash, I put it to one side and there was a cupboard for phones and handbags,” she said.
She told the court she’d stopped working for Mendy when City stopped paying his wages in September 2021 ahead of his trial.
Some of the parties started in Manchester’s nightclubs before continuing back at the mansion.
Videos were shown to the court of the player in a club, stripping to the waist in front of young women, waving his shirt around his head before throwing it into the crowd.
Other footage from a party at his house showed him with his hand thrust down his trousers as he danced with a group of young women.
CCTV put before the court also showed him staggering drunk from a car.
During his trial, Mendy admitted occasionally being over the limit while driving and his disregard for authority was highlighted when he fully accepted many of the parties and gatherings in his house had taken place when they were banned due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In court, Mendy admitted to living a life which focussed on his sexual conquests.
“I was not thinking like how they were feeling or they can be upset because, for me, if they wanted to have sex and I wanted to, everything was fine and I would carry on my partying,” he said.
He told the court it was “honestly so easy” for him to meet women and have sex with them.
‘Accept it and stop’
Mendy said that while he started attracting women’s attention when he signed for Marseille as an 18-year-old, interest in him had grown tenfold when he joined City.
“It’s not because of my look, it’s because of football,” he told jurors.
He said he had never considered contraception and added that it was “normal” for him to have sex with a number of different women.
He stressed to the court, though, that if a woman ever said “no”, he would “be fine”, adding: “I’d accept it and I’d stop.”
Mendy said he was embarrassed to talk about sex because “I can’t scream ‘Yeah, I love sex!’, because it would seem weird.”
He also told the court that when he was remanded into custody between August 2021 and January 2022, he had changed.
“All my life, I have never had the time to really think about what I was doing,” he said.
“When I went there I was alone, you’re sat down all day, the only thing you do is think.
“I didn’t know I can hurt their feelings if we were both OK to have sex.”
Such was the portrait painted of him during the case that even his own legal team, led by Eleanor Laws KC, admitted that “life, as he knew it, is over, in football in the UK”.
Ms Laws added that Mendy “will never escape these accusations”.
His contract at Manchester City runs out this summer and if his barrister is correct, he may have to go abroad to continue playing.
How the case will impact on his lifestyle remains to be seen, but his agent, City and any future club will be hoping he will be talked about for his footballing talent and not his off-pitch behaviour.
Related Internet Links