Best denies beating his wife

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A bleary-eyed George Best emerged from his home yesterday and denied reports that he had beaten his young wife, Alex, saying: "I don't hit women, only men."

The 50-year-old former football superstar also denied reports that his 25-year-old wife had gone to or called police, telling journalists that "someone else did".

The ex-Manchester United and Northern Ireland international, wearing a full-length blue raincoat and a red paisley-patterned scarf, made his brief comments as he walked from his home in Chelsea, south-west London, to his office above the Phene pub in nearby Phene Street.

Alex Best was said to have complained to police that her husband attacked her on Wednesday night after a drinking binge to celebrate her 25th birthday. Best, aged 50, was reported to police yesterday for allegedly punching her in the face leaving her badly bruised. But Mrs Best asked officers not to press charges.

The alleged incident comes after Best recently joked about hitting Alex following the allegations that Glasgow Rangers' midfielder Paul Gascoigne had hit his wife Sheryl.