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Court will decide if Harry is saint or sinner but he is guilty of being naive


Manchester United's Harry Maguire

Manchester United's Harry Maguire

Manchester United's Harry Maguire

As they plan a strategy for the Manchester United captain's retrial in Greece, Harry Maguire's legal team may consider the Berlin D2 restaurant owner's assertion that, while video evidence of his barman pouring drink down the throats of punters "looks terrible", it was just "20 seconds of madness."

With Maguire's appeal pending, his conviction and suspended jail sentence have been nullified by Greek law in advance of the case being heard again.

As things stand, Harry's a free man without a stain on his character. Unless there's a law against a 27-year old England centre-half being naive.

When Maguire moved to Old Trafford from Leicester City in 2019 his £80m fee set a world transfer record for a defender. Even earning £190,000 a week, he's not the highest paid player at Man United.

The allegation that Harry told the police, "I am very rich. I can give you money, I can pay you, please let us go" will be tested in court.

But the charge of bribery has many believing that footballers have more money than sense. More worrying for Manchester United supporters were reports that some of the Greeks stuck the boot into their defender, telling him, "Your career is over."

Whatever the explanation, stories of the England international finding himself in a situation that involves suspicious characters, possibly Albanian gangsters, assaulting undercover policemen and reportedly running a bar tab of £63,000 is not a good look.

Many in the court of public opinion would say Harry is guilty of being a complete eejit.

Naturally, Harry protests his innocence, saying, "If anything, myself, family and friends are the victims."

A Man United spokesperson says that the granting of a retrial, "means that Harry has no criminal record and is once again presumed innocent until proven guilty."


Although he's accused of "violence against officials, disobedience, bodily harm, insult and attempted bribery of an official," the club are standing by their man.

However, Gareth Southgate dropped Maguire from the England squad for upcoming matches.

The official line is that the decision was "in the interest of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week."

While Harry may rue the day he decided to fly family and friends to a luxury villa on the Aegean party island, he may have changed his plans had he known of the island's mythic history.

Mary Beard, TV's most entertaining classicist, would have told him how Mykonos was the site of a famous mythological clash between Zeus, king of the ancient gods, and a race of Giants who were a force for disorder and chaos. The worst sort of party animals.

Zeus came down hard on the Giants and zapped them with lightning bolts, turning them into the huge boulders that are dotted around Mykonos.

History would have it that Mykonos is no country for big men. And that includes a 6'4" centre-back prone to occasional disastrous lapses in form.

If there's an uncomfortable ring of truth in the Greek cops' assertion that Maguire demanded, "Do you know who I am?", it's because high-earning, high-profile footballers have a history of inviting ridicule through their antics.

Anyone who's ever who marvelled at the majesty of Diego Maradona's second goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final must grieve at the drug-soaked blimp the footballing genius became.

Tragically, Maradona wasn't the first, nor is he likely to be the last football star to fall victim of the hype and make catastrophic errors of judgement in their social life.

Maradona didn't have to ask, "Do you know who I am?" Every hustler, tout and spiv on the planet knew. And many of them beat a path to his door.

It's easy to say that football stars have more money than sense. But they do have a lot of money.

Cristiano Ronaldo is said to be earning €30m a year at Juventus. In June, Forbes declared him the first professional footballer to achieve billionaire status.

Making Harry Maguire's bar tab seem like loose change, Ronaldo forked out €9.5 million on a new car when Juve clinched the Serie A title this year.

Unlike the new £200,000 Ferrari he pranged in an underpass near Manchester Airport when he was 23, Ronaldo's new motor is an 8-litre Bugatti Centodieci with a top speed of 234mph.

It's from a limited edition of just ten models.

He may use it to drive to the new €6.2m luxury yacht he bought recently, which his partner Georginagio keeps posting on Insta.

Harry's error of judgement pales by comparison to the infamous antics of the England squad on the lash in a Hong Kong night club in 1996 when Paul Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham had booze poured down their throats while seated in a dentist's chair.

Maguire's cardinal sin (he went to Catholic school, by the way) was that he attempted to step into the real world while on holiday.

Saint or sinner, he should have been smart enough to know his celebrity status would attract undesirable attention and possible provocation.