Manchester United star Tom Cleverley accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages today over a claim that he “badgered” a girl for sex.
The 22-year-old midfielder brought High Court proceedings against News Group Newspapers over a story in The Sun in August which left him “extremely upset and embarrassed”, said his advocate, David Price QC.
He told Mr Justice Tugendhat in London that it alleged that the footballer had met a girl in a Blackpool nightclub and bombarded her with text messages offering her sex.
He was then alleged to have taken her to a B&B where he introduced her to his bodyguard and did a Google search on his name to demonstrate that he was a famous footballer.
“Most seriously, the article then alleged that he repeatedly badgered her for sex despite her saying no.”
Mr Price said the truth was that Mr Cleverley had never met the girl involved and was at home with his girlfriend in Manchester at the time of the alleged incident.
“It transpires that, entirely unknown to the girl involved, an individual from Shipley, West Yorkshire, who resembles Mr Cleverley, was impersonating him, while another individual from the same town pretended to be his bodyguard.
“While these two individuals are from Mr Cleverley’s local area, he does not know them and had no knowledge that they were practising such deception.”
He told the judge that News Group had agreed to publish an apology and pay substantial damages together with costs to Mr Cleverley, who was not in court.