The Manchester City full-back Wayne Bridge began a defensive battle of a different kind in the High Court in London yesterday when he faced legal proceedings brought by Vanessa Perroncel, his former fiancée and the mother of his three-year-old son, Jaydon.
Perroncel, whose affair with Bridge's former England and Chelsea team-mate John Terry prompted the 29-year-old Bridge to retire from international football, is accusing him of failing to provide adequate maintenance for the child, despite his salary at Eastlands of £88,000 per week.
Neither commented while entering or leaving the court, where there was a private hearing before a district judge in the morning. The pair and their lawyers then spent the afternoon negotiating outside court behind closed doors.
The French lingerie model has claimed that Bridge has offered her just £3,000 a month to bring up their child, while sources close to the player say his offer is at least £10,000.
The player is said to be reluctant to agree more as he is convinced that Perroncel was paid as much as £800,000 by Terry in order to stop her revealing details of their relationship after the affair came to light. However, Perroncel's spokesman, Max Clifford, strongly denied that she had received any money from the former England captain.
Bridge is currently unavailable to help Manchester City's push for the fourth Champions League qualifying spot after undergoing surgery on a hernia problem earlier this month.