Defending Premier League champions Manchester City on Thursday released a statement confirming the suspension of left-back Benjamin Mendy. The 27-year-old has been charged with four counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, Cheshire police confirmed.

"Manchester City can confirm that following his being charged by police today, Benjamin Mendy has been suspended pending an investigation," the club said in a statement, adding that it is unable to make further comment until the legal process is completed.

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Mendy was to remain in police custody overnight and is due to appear in court on Friday, police said.

Mendy's agent did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

A police spokesman said, "Cheshire Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service would like to remind everyone that criminal proceedings against Mendy are live and that he has a right to a fair trial."

He played against Tottenham on the opening weekend of the Premier League season but didn't feature against Norwich on Saturday.

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Coming through second tier French club Le Havre's youth academy, Mendy began playing as a reserve in 2010. He was promoted in 2011 and remained with the club until 2013. He then joined Ligue 1 club Marseille. He spent three seasons with  Les Olympiens before leaving for Monaco, with whom he won the national championship in 2016–17. It was in 2017, that Manchester City bought Mendy for a reported £52m fee. He won the Premier League in his first season with the English giants. 

Mendy's national debut for France came in 2017. He was a part of the French World Cup winning squad in 2018.