Jose Bordalas, the Getafe coach, has said the club will strive to help Mason Greenwood get “back to his best level” and that the Manchester United striker has “huge enthusiasm” to resurrect his career in Spain.
But while Bordalas appeared to be confused by the legalities around the Greenwood case, he did admit the controversy around the player was “too delicate a subject to treat lightly”.
Greenwood joined Getafe on a season-long loan deal just minutes before the close of the Spanish transfer window on Friday night.
United, who are covering the majority of Greenwood’s £75,000-a-week wages and have not taken a loan fee from Getafe, said they would “continue to offer its support to Mason and his family during this period of transition”.
Greenwood, 21, has not played competitive professional football since his arrest in January last year after images and audio clips appeared on social media.
In February, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that charges of attempted rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and controlling and coercive behaviour against Greenwood had been dropped after key witnesses withdrew and new material came to light.
Greenwood was not registered in time to face Real Madrid on Saturday, when Getafe lost 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, and the forward may need some time to get into a position where he is match ready after so long out.
But Bordalas – while showing questionable grasp of the legal details of the case – said: “Everyone knows what happened and that it ended with a sentence that did not find him guilty. He’s a footballer of an extremely high level and he arrives at Getafe with huge enthusiasm. We will try to help him to get back to his best level.”
Addressing the sensitivities of the case and Getafe’s decision to loan him, Bordalas said: “It’s too delicate a subject to treat lightly. Everyone knows what happened and the appropriate measures were taken. We can only talk about football, obviously. The relevant bodies did what had to be done.”
United sources have indicated that it will not be a case of Greenwood being loaned out and then quickly being brought back into their squad. They say it is highly unlikely Greenwood will play for the club again but have stopped short of completely ruling that out. United’s original plan to reintegrate the player was met by a huge backlash and forced an about-turn that led to them announcing he would leave the club.
Greenwood’s arrival in Spain comes at a time when the country is in uproar over the unsolicited kiss by Luis Rubiales, the Spanish football federation president, on Jenni Hermoso after the Women’s World Cup final against England. The Getafe president, Ángel Torres, had actually called on Rubiales to resign over his behaviour.
Some Getafe fans have already expressed dismay at the club’s decision to take Greenwood on loan and a leading domestic abuse charity has been highly critical.
Ana Bella Estévez, of the Ana Bella Foundation, told The Mirror: “Getafe executives should never have hired Mason Greenwood and should immediately overturn their decision.
“If you’re a public facing organisation like Getafe there is no excuse to take a neutral stance on violence against women – you must take moral responsibility.”
However, Bordalas said they wanted to help the player get his career back on track.
“I can only talk about it in footballing terms,” he said. “We all know the potential he has. He is a very young boy, he is still only 21, and we hope that he can adapt to a very different league.
“We all know the potential he has and if physically he can get back – and I am sure of that – he will want to recover the professional status he had and Getafe can help him to do so.”
Getafe’s next home match is against Osasuna on September 17, when it remains to be seen how fans react to the Greenwood news.