Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, on Monday told jurors that he had “no idea” what Benjamin Mendy did outside the football pitch as he is “not his father”.
Guardiola noted Mendy was a “happy and funny boy” and it would be “difficult to find anyone in the locker room who would speak badly of him”.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also admitted he was aware Mendy broke lockdown restrictions in 2020 by holding parties and said the pair had a chat.
He said: “Of course I was not happy. We talked about that and he accepted that he didn’t do the right thing.”
Asked if he was aware of the allegations Mendy faced, Guardiola said he had been asked to come to court by the 28-year-old to give character evidence, adding: “And that’s why I’m here.”
Mendy is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a total of six different women on five different occasions at his home in Mottram St Andrew between October 2018 and August last year.
Mendy denies seven counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault.
Guardiola, 51, told jurors at Chester Crown Court this afternoon he noticed Mendy when he was playing for Monaco and beat Manchester City in a match.
He said: “We were really impressed as a club, he had the potential to play with us.
“I think he’s a generous boy and very quickly adapted to the team. I’d say he was happy when he could help the other [players]. I remember, when you asked him something for his mate or for the club, always he was able to do it.
“And he’s a funny boy. He was the player that was the happiest the most – I would say more than on the pitch – in the training sessions.”
Mendy’s social life
Asked by Mendy’s barrister Eleanor Laws KC if he knew Mendy enjoyed his social life, Guardiola replied: “I can see the players when we are together in the training sessions. In their private life I don’t know what they do.
“I’m not active in social media so I don’t follow my players on social media, so I don’t know what they were doing out of my control of the training sessions and the games.”
Ms Laws said: “Your interest is what he’s like on the pitch and in the training sessions.”
I am not his father
Guardiola replied: “Absolutely – I’m not his father” and laughed.
He added: “We are 22 players – I cannot control them off the pitch and if they are not ready to make training sessions I would notice immediately. That’s what I’m taking care of and paying attention to.”
Asked if there were times when Mendy’s social life appeared to be affecting his performance, Guardiola said: “I don’t know what the effect of his life outside the pitch was on the pitch but of course I try to demand the best of him – sometimes he delivered to us, sometimes he didn’t deliver.”
Mendy’s co-accused Louis Saha Matturie, 41, of Eccles, Salford, denies six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault relating to seven young women.