Former Manchester City left-back Benjamin Mendy has been found not guilty of rape and attempted rape.
Mendy was accused of raping a 24-year-old woman in a bedroom at his multi-million-pound mansion in Cheshire in October 2020.
He was also charged with the attempted rape of a 29-year-old woman at his home two years earlier.
According to Sky News, Mendy, who had denied both charges, was found not guilty by the jury of six men and six women at Chester Crown Court. He said the encounters had been consensual.
The footballer was in tears after hearing the verdict, coming out of the court hugging his friends who were here to support him
A statement read outside court by his solicitors said Mendy “would like to thank the members of the jury for focusing on the evidence in this trial rather than on rumour and innuendo that have followed this case”.
They said Mendy has remained strong for almost three years since the police began investigating allegations made against him, but the process has “inevitably had a serious impact on him”.
“This is the second time that Mr Mendy has been tried and found not guilty by a jury. He is delighted that both juries reached the correct verdicts.”
Earlier this year the footballer was found not guilty of sexual offences against a number of women but the jury were unable to reach verdicts on the two charges.
At his retrial, prosecutors said Mendy would host parties and social gatherings at his £4.2m home The Spinney while under contract at Manchester City.
The court heard Mendy had met a British student in a nightclub in Barcelona in 2017. She became close with a friend of Mendy’s and arranged to visit him at the footballer’s home the following year.
After a night out she alleged Mendy tried to rape her.
But the footballer told the jury: “I asked her if we are OK to have sex. She told me, ‘No’ because of my friend.
“I was like, ‘It’s fine, my friend says it’s OK, so if you want, he’s OK with that’. It’s when she started to be like that – upset, sad. I just left the room.”
Two years later, a woman was out with friends at a bar near Mendy’s home when they were invited back to the footballer’s house.
She alleged he took her phone from her and led her to a locked bedroom. Mendy threw the phone on to a bed and, as she went to retrieve it, Mendy is alleged to have raped her.
Mendy told the jury the two had a consensual sexual encounter and later swapped details on Snapchat.
He was asked whether he had held her down or forced her on to the bed. He said: “No.”
He told the jury: “I will never force to have sex with a woman.”
Mendy became the world’s most expensive defender when City paid £52m to Monaco for him in 2017.
He won three Premier League titles with City and was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 2018.
He was released by the club when his contract expired at the end of June.