Harry Maguire was dropped from the England squad last night after being found guilty of assaulting police officers while on holiday in Greece and handed a suspended jail term.
The £190,000 (€211,000)-a-week Manchester United captain had immediately declared his intention to appeal after three Greek judges found he attacked the officers, resisted arrest and then repeatedly attempted to bribe police during a late night brawl on the island of Mykonos.
England manager Gareth Southgate dropped him from next month's international matches within an hour of the verdict, having earlier yesterday afternoon named him in his squad. "I have a fantastic relationship with the boy," Southgate had claimed before the reversal.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, claimed Maguire had insulted the entire nation of Greece. The 27-year-old was said to have shoved an officer to the ground while raging over his arrest, before later saying: "Do you know who I am? I am the captain of Manchester United. I am very rich. I can give you money. I can pay you. Please let us go."
However, defence lawyers said officers had kicked his leg and then joked of ending his career. Maguire, who vehemently denied any wrongdoing and is understood to claim he was set upon unprovoked by eight men not in uniform, was sentenced to a prison term of 21 months and 10 days, suspended for three years as it was a first offence.
His brother Joe, 28, and friend Chris Sharman, 29, also received suspended terms of 13 months each during the one-day hearing on Syros, which neighbours Mykonos.
It is the most dramatic fall from grace for a reluctantly famous figure, an A* GCSE student and son of an accountant from Sheffield who scored for England in the World Cup quarter-final in 2018 before becoming the world's most expensive defender.
Maguire said he would launch an immediate appeal as his international playing future was thrown into turmoil. "I remain strong and confident regarding our innocence in this matter - if anything myself, family and friends are the victims," he added.
Southgate said of his decision to drop Maguire for the matches against Iceland and Denmark: "Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week."
Maguire had been with a group of four men and three women leaving the Bonbonierre bar in the Fabrika area of Mykonos following an all-day drinking session when trouble flared at around midnight on Thursday.
The footballer was not present at yesterday's hearing but his lawyer and friends told the court that two "seemingly Albanian" men attempted to drug his sister, Daisy. Maguire had asked the driver of the group's van to take them to a hospital but the vehicle instead dropped them off at a police station.
Greek police said the player was arrested as they were trying to break up a dispute, with one of the defendants shouting "F*** the police, f*** Greece" as they approached.
Police claim Maguire and the two others "were cooperating at first" but shoved and hit officers when they tried to handcuff them. When asked what led to that change of behaviour, one of the officers told the court: "It was the women (they were with) - they were being very inflammatory."
Giannis Paradisis, attorney for the Mykonos police officers, said the footballer eventually punched a policeman in the face. The "defendants' actions show an anti-athletic spirit, and insult not only those I represent, but also the Greek police and the Greek republic in total," he added.
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