Pep Guardiola tells Benjamin Mendy’s rape trial the Man City player is ‘a really good boy’

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told Benjamin Mendy’s rape trial that the £52 million player was ‘a really good boy’.

Guardiola, 51, was called as a character witness for Mendy who faces a string of sex crime allegations including seven rapes.

The City manager appeared at Chester Crown Court via a video link from ‘somewhere abroad’ and told the jury that he had been asked by Mendy to support him.

He said: ‘He asked me to come to be here with all of you and that is why I am here.’

Guardiola, dressed in a grey sweat shirt, told Mendy’s barrister Eleanor Laws KC that Mendy, 28, was ‘an exceptional player.’

Ms Laws asked if there were ‘a lot of expectations on his shoulders ‘ when he signed from Monaco in 2017.

Guardiola said: ‘I don’t know because I didn’t ask him what was his expectation was but as a club and as a manager we have a lot of big expectations.

‘We believe in our players. He’s an exceptional player.’

Guardiola told how Mendy was first noticed when he played for Monaco in a Champions League clash.

Ms Laws asked if City had been impressed by Mendy’s ‘speed and physicality ‘ in the match.

He said: ‘We played Monaco at that time and we were really impressed as a club and thought he had the potential to play for us and we tried to sign him.’

Guardiola was asked by Ms Laws if Mendy had ‘difficulties professionally’ after being hit by injuries.

He told the jury of eight men and four women: ‘I’m pretty sure. The injuries can do that. It’s always pretty difficult.’

Ms Laws suggested that Mendy preferred to be with the rest of the team rather than on his own and Guardiola said: ‘Of course, naturally.’

The barrister asked the manager to describe Mendy’s ‘personality and character.’

Guardiola said: ‘He is a really good boy, always generous. I think he was happy when we were together in the locker room. Everyone is asking him a favour and he would be able to do it.

‘I think he is a generous boy. He adapted very quickly to the team and I would say he was happy to be helping others. When you asked him to do something for his mates or for the club he would be able to do it.

‘He is a funny boy and I would say on the training pitch or in the locker room are the places where he was happiest most – I would say that more than on the pitch, making rumours and making people have fun.’

Guardiola said he was liked by the rest of the team ‘from day one.’

He agreed with Ms Laws that Mendy could be described as ‘happy, funny and had great team spirit.’

Guardiola said: ‘I do not think that there is a person in the locker room who would speak badly of him in the period we were together.’

Ms Laws asked the manager if Mendy was ‘a young man who enjoyed his social life.’

Guardiola said : ‘I can say I can’t see players. I control my players when we are together in training sessions. In their private life, I don’t know what they do. I am not active on social media.

‘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.’

Ms Laws said: ‘You are interested in what he was like on the pitch and in training sessions.’

Guardiola replied: ‘Absolutely. I am not his father.’

He added: ‘If he does not do good in training sessions, I will notice immediately. That’s what I’m taking care of and that is where I pay attention.’

Guardiola said he ‘demanded the best’ of Mendy but added that ‘sometimes he delivered to us and sometimes he didn’t deliver. He was say easy to deal with.’

The manager said that he had been told that Mendy had broken Covid lock down rules by holding parties at his £4.7 million mansion in Prestbury, Cheshire.

Guardiola said: ‘I realised it happened. I don’t remember through the media or somebody at the club advised me about that. Of course, I’m not happy. We talk about that and he accept he didn’t do the right thing.’

Ms Laws asked if he was aware that Mendy was facing ‘serious sexual offences’ but was prepared to come to court to speak in his defence to the court.

Mr Guardiola said: ‘He asked me, Mendy, to come here today with all of you, your honour and that’s why I’m here.’

Mendy, 28, denies seven counts of rape, one attempted rape and one sexual assault.

His co accused and alleged fixer Louis Saha Matturie, 41, from Eccles, Manchester denies six rapes and three sexual assaults.

The trial continues.

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