Dani Alves, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood and 7 other football stars who have been accused of sexual assault

Players who have been accused of sexual assault | Imago

Dani Alves, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood and 7 other football stars who have been accused of sexual assault

Ayoola Kelechi 11:59 - 22.02.2024

Several of football's biggest names have come under allegations of sexual assault in recent years and we have listed the 10 most popular cases in recent years, including one with a footballer set to serve a four-year jail term

Benjamin Mendy’s troubles with the law has been but one of football’s recent battles with allegations of sexual misconduct among players, with many famous names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood, and Daniel Alves also having been charged with similar offenses.

As the unfortunate situation continues to unfold, we take a look at 10 of football’s stars who have been accused of sexual assault in recent years, including a recently jailed player.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Just a year after winning the Ballon d’Or as a Manchester United star, Cristiano Ronaldo had an encounter with Kathryn Mayorga while holidaying in Las Vegas that would continue to haunt his reputation long after.

The Portuguese superstar, who was 24 at the time of the incident, was accused of raping Ms. Mayorga, who worked at a nightclub and was pictured with the then-Manchester United forward, who denied the allegations, describing their encounter as consensual.

Ronaldo celebrates a goal for Manchester United as a 22 year old|courtesy image
Ronaldo was fingered in a rape case in his first spell at Manchester United

Despite the denial, Ronaldo allegedly paid Mayroga £287,000 for her confidentiality in an out-of-court settlement that meant the former model waived her right to pursue a criminal case against the footballer.

Ronaldo was ultimately cleared of the charges in 2022 after a Judge ruled that evidence in the case against the Portuguese national team captain was obtained illegally and could not be used as the basis for his trial.

Mayorga’s lawyer was accused of acting in bad faith and using confidential leaks from Ronaldo to pursue his client’s case, and he was asked to pay £275,000 in legal fees to the Portugal star.

Neymar Jr

During the summer of 2019, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar Junior released a sensational video on Twitter claiming that he had been accused of rape.

The forward was visibly upset as he described the nature of his dilemma after claims by Brazilian model Najila Trindade that he had assaulted her in a Paris hotel.

The ill-fated couple met on Instagram, which led to Neymar inviting Trindade to Paris for a night of passion that ultimately went sour.

PSG's Neymar was accused of sexual assault in 2019
PSG's Neymar was accused of sexual assault in 2019

Trindade accused Neymar of forcing himself on her after arriving drunk in their shared hotel room and filed a complaint with the police about the incident, hoping to press charges.

In the video Neymar released, the Brazilian footballer narrated the relationship between himself and Trindade, saying that the night events in Paris were “like with any couple.”

The PSG star claimed that he was forced to make the video because he was being extorted, and went on to show intimate chats with Trindade in an attempt to clear his name, including a screenshot of texts where the model had asked for souvenirs from Neymar for her child.

The charges against Neymar were eventually dropped, and Trindade was charged with defamation of character by Brazilian police after she accused them of being corrupt.

Daniel Alves

Another Brazilian and a close friend and former teammate of Neymar, Daniel Alves, has also recently been found guilty of sexual assault, with his case taking on a more sinister twist to the former Santos stars’ as the ex-Barcelona star was sentenced to four years in prison.

Alves was holidaying in Barcelona at the start of 2023 when he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault following claims by a 23-year-old accuser that the former PSG and Juventus defender defiled her in the bathroom of a nightclub.

Unlike many of the other players accused of assault, Alves was remanded in prison pending investigations after being denied multiple bail requests before he was eventually found guilty in a trial that lasted throughout February.

Dani Alves prison
Dani Alves could face up to 12 years in prison should he be found guilty of sexual assault. Dani Alves could face up to 12 years in prison should he be found guilty of sexual assault.

Alves has acknowledged having an affair with the lady in question despite being married at the time but has maintained that relations were consensual and that he is hopeful that the investigations will find him innocent of the alleged crimes.

Alves, who is one of the most decorated footballers in history, could face up to 12 years in jail if found guilty of the charges being brought against him.

Santi Mina

While Dani Alves’ fate still hangs in the balance, that of Spanish midfielder Santi Mina has already been decided, with the Celta Vigo player set to spend up to four years in prison after being found guilty of an assault.

Mina had been charged with sexual abuse in 2017 and was found guilty after an initial trial, but his football career continued without a hitch while he appealed the initial judgment, albeit without much luck.

On June 19, 2003, Mina’s appeal was denied, and the former Valencia player was sentenced to four years in prison for his transgressions and was also ordered to pay the victim €25,000 in damages.

The midfielder, who returned to Celta Vigo this summer after a loan spell in Saudi Arabia, still has a one-year contract at the club, which has yet to make a statement concerning the latest development.

Mina will now take his case to the highest court in Spain, hoping to overturn the appeal court’s ruling, citing irregular testimony from his accuser.


Brazilian winger Robinho once dazzled the world with flamboyant skills at top sides like Real Madrid and AC Milan, while becoming the first superstar name to sign for the blue half of Manchester.

However, the end of his career was marred by an accusation of sexual assault that ultimately saw Robinho wind up in jail.

Robinho was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2017, a decision that was upheld by an Italian appeals court in 2022, for his part in the gang rape of an intoxicated woman alongside five other assailants while he was still an AC Milan player.

Robinho while playing for AC Milan
Former AC Milan and Brazil forward Robinho has had an international arrest warrant issued against him for his role in the gang rape of an Albanian woman in 2013 for which he received a nine year prison sentence

Despite the rulings, Robinho has never set foot in an Italian jail cell as he resides in Brazil, which has insisted against extraditing a citizen of the country.

The former Real Madrid forward maintains his innocence, claiming that the woman in question had consensual sex with him and all five other defendants.

Italian authorities have issued an international warrant for Robinho’s arrest, which, if granted, could force him to serve his jail term in Brazil or Italy.

Mason Greenwood

Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood has been involved in one of the most publicised and talked about sexual assault allegation cycles in recent football history after being arrested in January 2022 on suspicion of assault and coercive behaviour.

The 21-year-old England international’s case is peculiar due to the striker still being involved in a relationship with Harriet Robson, who accused him of physical assault.

Mason Greenwood leaves Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester on November 21, 2022.
Mason Greenwood leaves Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester on November 21, 2022.

Robson released footage of an altercation with Greenwood as well as audio recordings which appeared to portray the Manchester United forward engaging in a forceful sexual act with her.

However, charges against Greenwood were ultimately dropped by prosecutors in the case, who decided not to pursue the case due to key witnesses withdrawing their testimony.

The couple have gone on to have a child together and are engaged, while Greenwood continues to serve a suspension by Manchester United, who are conducting their own investigations.

Adam Johnson

On the other side of Manchester, another case involving an English forward went in a completely different direction from Greenwood’s after former Manchester City player Adam Johnson was charged with grooming and performing sexual acts with a minor in 2015.

According to reports, Johnson, who was playing with Sunderland at the time of the incident, had begun communicating with a 15-year-old girl on social media in 2014 when his partner was pregnant and ended up kissing the teenager a few weeks later.

Johnson was handed a six-year prison sentence in 2016 after pleading guilty to one charge of grooming and one charge of sexual activity with a minor. He was also forced to pay £50,000 in legal fees to the prosecutors, who convinced a jury to jail him.

The former England international was released from Prison after serving half of his sentence in 2019.

Benjamin Mendy

Another Manchester City player, Benjamin Mendy, was also recently accused of sexual assault by as many as seven plaintiffs, who claimed that the French defender and another defendant had raped them.

Charges were brought against Mendy in 2021, and the World Cup winner was remanded in prison after previously breaking bail bond agreements while he was also suspended by Manchester City.

Mendy and another party Louis Saha Matturie were charged with multiple counts of rape and attempted rape but were found not guilty after damning evidence of one of the accusers engaging in consensual sex with Matturie in an instance that was claimed as rape was provided to the court and cast doubt on the true motives of the accusers.

Former Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy has been acquitted of all charges of rape and sexual assault
Former Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy has been acquitted of all charges of rape and sexual assault

Mendy faced a re-trial for one count of rape, and another count of attempted rape also found him innocent, and the Manchester City defender was set free, although he was no longer a Cityzens player by the time the trial was over.

Thomas Partey

Arsenal’s Ghanaian midfielder, Thomas Partey, was accused of sexual assault by an alleged former girlfriend, who took to Twitter to lay her claims against the 30-year-old player.

The Twitter user, who claimed to have holidayed with the former Atletico Madrid star in Ibiza, went viral after posting screenshots of conversations alleged to be with the Ghanaian midfielder in which he admitted to the incident.

No charges were recorded against Partey for the incident, and the midfielder continues to represent Arsenal in the Premier League.

In July 2022, a 29-year-old Premier League star was reportedly arrested in North London on suspicion of sexually assaulting three women and has been granted bail on as many as five occasions.

Many suggest that the player in question could be Arsenal’s Partey due to similarities between the midfielder and Player X, but such allegations remain unfounded.

Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery

Finally, former international teammates Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery were involved in one of the biggest scandals of the last decade after it was alleged that the pair engaged in sexual acts with a minor and that Benzema held on to video proof of the encounter, hoping to use it to blackmail his teammate.

Benzema was blacklisted from the French squad and missed the 2018 World Cup triumph, partly as a result of the problems caused by his off-field problems.

Charges against both Benzema and Ribery were dropped after it was revealed that they did not know that the prostitute they had hired was only 16 years old.

Benzema was exiled from the France national team
Benzema was exiled from the France national team

Benzema was, however, punished for his role in a blackmail attempt on Ribery and was fined €75,000 and handed a suspended one-year jail sentence.

The former Real Madrid forward appealed the decision but later dropped the appeal, saying he was exhausted from the legal battle.

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