Harry Maguire has broken his silence over his Greek arrest and conviction and says he feared for his life following the incident on the holiday island of Mykonos.
The Manchester United captain was involved in an incident involving Greek police whilst on holiday with his family, a fracas which has led to the centre-back receiving a suspended prison sentence of 21 months and 10 days, after being found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult.
Widespread reports suggested that Maguire and his associates had been involved in the brawl as a result of taunts towards the defender from rival supporters, though the star has since claimed the situation arose after his sister was the victim of a suspected drug-involved assault.
The England international has maintained his innocence throughout and his legal team have now lodged an appeal against the conviction, the centre-back emotionally revealing the fear he felt after claiming he was assaulted by plain-clothed police officers who he says did not reveal themselves.
“My initial thought, I thought we were getting kidnapped. We got down on our knees, we put our hands in the air, they just started hitting us,” he told BBC Sport.
“They were hitting my leg saying my career’s over, ‘No more football. You won’t play again’.
“And at this point I thought there is no chance these are police or I don’t know who they are so I tried to run away, I was in that much of a panic, fear, scared for my life. All the way through it.”
The 27-year-old spent two nights in custody before being allowed to return to the UK ahead of his trial, in which he was found guilty of attempted bribery after allegedly 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.”
“I feared for my life”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 27, 2020
Maguire has now moved to deny those allegations ahead of his appeal as he continues to protest his innocence, describing the claims as ‘ridiculous’.
“No, for sure. As soon as I saw that statement, it’s just ridiculous,” the England defender insisted.
Maguire admitted his regret over finding himself in the situation but insists his innocence means he owes no apologies, before refuting suggestions footballers should live their lives sheltered from the rest of society.
“It was horrible. It’s not something I ever want to do again. I don’t wish it on anybody. It’s the first time I’ve ever been inside a prison,” he continued.
“I don’t feel like I owe an apology to anybody. An apology is something when you’ve done something wrong or regret. I regret being in the situation. I play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, I regret putting the fans and the club through this.
“I think it could have happened anywhere. I love Greece, I think us footballers get a bit of stick for trying to stay away from everything. It’s not how I want to live my life.”