Harry Maguire has spoken for the first time since being handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence in a Greek court and appeared to admit his future as Manchester United captain is out of his hands.
Speaking to BBC News on Thursday night, the England defender broke his silence following the brawl that broke out on the Greek island of Mykonos last week, with the 27-year-old found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after arrest.
Maguire, whose legal team have appealed the verdict and a full retrial will be held, was clearly emotional as he described the events of that night and added whether he remains the United captain is ‘not his decision to make’.
Harry Maguire spoke for the first time on Thursday night about the incident in Mykonos
Manchester United captain Maguire said his future as skipper is ‘not his decision to make’
Asked who he owed an apology too, Maguire said: ‘I don’t feel like I owe an apology to anybody.
‘An apology is something when you’ve done something wrong. I regret being in the situation.
‘Obviously the situation has made it difficult and I play for one of the biggest clubs in the world so I regret putting the fans and the club through this.’
Maguire, who signed for United from Leicester City last summer for an record transfer fee of £80m for an English player, was named United captain in January.
But, after the verdict in a court on the Greek island of Syros this week saw Gareth Southgate remove Maguire from his England squad for next week’s internationals, Maguire’s future as skipper of his club has been in some doubt – though United have so far stood by their player.
Maguire was given a 21-month suspended sentence on the Greek island of Syros this week
‘It’s a massive privilege to play for the club, never mind captain. It’s not my decision to make,’ Maguire replied, when asked if he could remain captain at United.
‘I have great faith in the Greek law, a retrial will give us more time to prepare, gather the evidence, allow witnesses into the court, and I’m really confident the truth will be told and will come out.’
Maguire, who asked the BBC to keep his current location secret, vowed to fight to clear his name and declared: ‘I’m confident the truth will be told.’
The world’s most expensive defender also denied claims he bribed police officers, calling the statement read out in court ‘ridiculous’.
Maguire was interviewed for the first time since his conviction after a brawl on Mykonos
In a statement on Wednesday, Manchester United said Maguire’s legal team filed the appeal and that it has been accepted.
The father-of-two’s conviction will now ‘lie idle’ until the outcome of his appeal, which could take up to three years.
This means that although his initial conviction stands, he will not be given a criminal record because the case has not finished. If he loses his appeal, his conviction will become definitive and he will receive a record.
Maguire said trouble started when two men approached his little sister at the club on Mykonos.
Maguire said the trouble started when two men approached his little sister, Daisy (pic)
He said: ‘These two men approached my little sister they said asked her where she was from, she responded and then my fiancee Fern saw my little sister’s eyes go into the back of her head and she ran over and she was fainting, she was in and out of consciousness…’
He also said that plain-clothed police officers pulled over the group’s minibus and threw him off. He tried to run away with one handcuff on because he feared for his life.
A shaken Maguire said: ‘My initial thought was that we are being kidnapped. We got on our knees and put our hands in the air and then they just started hitting us in the legs saying my career’s over, no more football, you won’t play again.
‘At this point I thought there was no chance these are police, I don’t know who they are so I tried to run away, I feared for my life.’
Before the incident he had been enjoying a pleasant get-away on the idyllic Greek island
Maguire was asked by the BBC’s Dan Roan if he accepts that he was asking for trouble by going to a busy bar on the popular tourist island.
He said: ‘No it could have happened anywhere. I love Greece. I think footballers get a bit of stick for trying to stay away from everything, but its’ not how I want to live my life.’
The 27-year-old also described what it was like spending two nights in custody.
He said: ‘It was horrible it’s nothing 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.’