French footballer Mendy signs for Lorient after sex trial acquittal

Benjamin Mendy signed for French club Lorient on Wednesday after the former Manchester City and France defender was acquitted in a sex crimes trial in England last week.


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“Lorient are delighted today to announce the signing of French international left-back Benjamin Mendy on a two-year contract,” the Ligue 1 club said in a statement.

Mendy, 29, was cleared of sex offenses last week, ending a three-year court process.

If convicted, the player faces a lengthy prison sentence after being cleared in January of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault following a six-month trial.

But jurors in that trial failed to reach a verdict on two other counts, triggering a retrial that ended last week.

Mendy, whose contract with England and European champions Manchester City expires at the end of June, has denied all allegations against him.

A departure from the Premier League after the trial seemed inevitable, with even his own legal team telling jurors that “his life in English football, as he knew it, was over”.

Lorient, who finished 10th in Ligue 1 last season behind champions Paris Saint-Germain, said their new signing will start training from Wednesday after undergoing a medical.

Lorient added: “2018 World Champion, Manchester City’s Premier League quadruple winner and Monaco’s Ligue 1 champion Benjamin Mendy has come to Lorient to strengthen the squad for the new season. Welcome Benjamin.”

limited play time

His performance in the French Cup championship in 2002 came almost two years after his last game for Manchester City.

The 2018 World Cup winner broke down after being acquitted of one count of rape and one count of sexual assault at Chester Crown Court in northwest England on Friday.

Mendy set a record signing for a defender when he moved from Ligue 1 side Monaco to Manchester City in 2017, for which he made 75 appearances.

But his time on the court has been limited by injuries and lack of form.

The last of his 10 caps for France came in November 2019, after the defender won the 2018 World Cup in Russia with France.

The trial meant he missed City’s Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble last season.

Lorient take on Bournemouth in a friendly on 5 August and begin their 2023-34 Ligue 1 campaign against champions Paris Saint-Germain on 13 August.


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