Benjamin Mendy leaves Chester Crown Court last Friday after his sex trial acquittal (Oli SCARFF)
Benjamin Mendy signed for French club Lorient on Wednesday after the former Manchester City and France defender was acquitted in a sex offences trial in England last week.
“Lorient are happy to announce today the signing on a two-year deal of the French international left-back Benjamin Mendy,” the Ligue 1 club said in a statement.
Mendy, 29, was cleared of sex offences last week, ending a three-year court process.
The player, who would have faced a lengthy jail term if convicted, had previously being cleared in January of six counts of rape and one of sexual assault following a six-month trial.
But jurors in that trial had been unable to reach a verdict on two other counts, triggering the retrial that ended last week.
Mendy, whose contract with English and European champions Manchester City expired at the end of June, had denied all the charges against him.
The move away from the Premier League following his trials seemed inevitable with even his own legal team telling jurors that “his life, as he knew it, is over, in football in the UK”.
Lorient, 10th behind champions Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 last season, said their new signing would start training from Wednesday after taking a medical.
“Benjamin Mendy, 2018 world champion, quadruple winner of the Premier League under the colours of Manchester City and French champion of Ligue 1 with Monaco, comes to reinforce the Lorient squad for this new season. Welcome Benjamin,” Lorient added.
– Limited playing time –
His arrival at the 2002 French Cup winners comes almost two years after his last match for Manchester City.
Last Friday, at Chester Crown Court in northwest England, the 2018 World Cup winner broke down after the not guilty verdicts on one count of rape and one of sexual assault were delivered.
Mendy, a record signing for a defender when he moved to Manchester City from French club Monaco in 2017, played 75 times for City.
But his time on the pitch was limited by injuries and a loss of form.
The last of his 10 caps for France came in November 2019, after the defender won the World Cup with Les Bleus in 2018 in Russia.
The trials meant that he missed Manchester City’s treble last season of the English Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.
Lorient, who face Bournemouth in a friendly on August 5, begin their 2023-34 Ligue 1 campaign against champions PSG on August 13.