How Harry Maguire must be wishing he’d chosen a low profile few days in Mabelthorpe for his summer hols this year. In the aftermath of recent misbehaviour during a trip to the Greek island of Mykonos, the Manchester United captain’s reputation has taken a serious hit.
After an evening of heavy-duty carousing – apparently, Maguire and chums’ bar bill was somewhere in the region of £63,000 on the night in question – the player was arrested for aggravated assault.
And Greek justice works quickly, because since then the 27-year-old has been tried in a criminal court, found guilty of the assault charge as well as separate charges of resisting arrest and attempted bribery, and given a suspended prison sentence.
During the hearing, the court had heard that Maguire told the arresting officer “Do you know who I am? I am very rich, I can give you money”. Nonetheless, Maguire plans to appeal the sentence, issuing a statement claiming that “myself, family and friends are the victims.”
If it’s some faint consolation to Hazza, he’s hardly the first footballer to find himself in legal hot waters. Here, then, are some more notable players who’ve had brushes with the law.
Earlier this year, the bucktoothed Brazilian icon spent nearly six months under arrest in Paraguay, having unknowingly (your honour) travelled there with a phoney Paraguayan passport.
Just why the hell he did that, we may never know – but we did learn that during Dinho’s spell in Paraguayan chokey, the ever upbeat former Barca man was treated like the superstar he is, playing football with his new pals during a month long stay in a maximum security prison, before being placed under house arrest for the remainder of his sentence.
Since he spent that time in a £300 a night hotel, we’re not necessarily convinced the player has been taught a valuable lesson about right and wrong here, but whatever – as the old adage goes, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, in a lavishly furnished palatial hotel where you’ll want for nothing.
Everyone remembers Eric’s famous kung fu kick on a supporter, after the combustible Frenchman was sent off at Selhurst Park in January 1995. What they may have forgotten is that as well as receiving a ban from playing for nine months, the Manchester United star was also initially given a two-week jail sentence.
Understandably, Cantona’s solicitor immediately appealed, getting Eric off the hook; at a subsequent court appearance a week later, the footballer’s punishment would be modified to 120 hours of community service instead. Just as well, because if Cantona had been forced to do bird it would probably be like that bit in Watchmen when Rorschach gets sent to the big house. As it was, Eric just ended up doing a few coaching sessions with kids.
Best known for his famed ‘scorpion kick’ against England during a friendly in 1995, the Colombian had made headlines for even more bizarre reasons in his native country a few years earlier.
In 1993, Higuita served time in a Colombian jail after attempting to broker a deal between notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, and a man whose daughter had allegedly been kidnapped by Escobar’s associates; I must have missed that episode of Narcos. In fact, Higuita was actually the man who delivered the ransom money, receiving payment for his delivery service – which is illegal under Colombian law.
The goalkeeper would serve seven months for his part in the affair, missing out on the 1994 World Cup in the process, though he was eventually released without charge. Speaking a couple of years ago, Higuita said of the affair: “The politicians chose me as a scapegoat. I was released as an innocent man.” Although not that innocent – in the same interview, he admitted to taking cocaine as a “hobby”…
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