Mason Greenwood's new life at Getafe – special report from Madrid

Mason Greenwood’s new life at Getafe: Disgraced Man United star has faced no uproar, his girlfriend’s been welcomed by the WAGs and he’s still on Premier League wages… but he does look rusty

  • Mason Greenwood could make his debut for Getafe against Osasuna on Sunday
  • The talk in this suburb of Madrid is purely on football and not on his backstory
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off! 

Outside a bar opposite Getafe’s compact Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Perez, where a beer costs three euros and comes with a small plate of chorizo and breadsticks, a group of old boys sit around a table and discuss Mason Greenwood. 

As the liquor is shared there is no talk of the harrowing audio and images that abruptly brought the striker’s career to a halt when they were posted on Instagram in January of 2022. 

No mention of the circumstances that have taken one of England’s finest young talents, a man paid £75,000-a-week at the age of 19, to a neighbourhood club on the outskirts of Madrid that plays in front of crowds that would not be out of place in League One. 

No debate over whether he should be here in the blue shirt that is worn with pride around the quiet streets of this working-class suburb 20 minutes south of the centre of Spain’s capital. 

The discussion is purely of football. The dissection is not of the Crown Prosecution Service, who eventually withdrew charges of attempted rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and controlling and coercive behaviour, but of the goals Greenwood had scored for his boyhood club. 

‘Masonmania’ has gripped Getafe with Greenwood given a warm welcome to the LaLiga club

Thousands turned out for Greenwood’s unveiling after he joined on loan from Man United

Having left United by mutual consent after an investigation, Greenwood can rebuild his career 

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There is no mention of the audio footage in which a man a man could be heard shouting at his alleged victim to ‘move your f****** legs you’. 

The clip in which, when the woman says that she did not want sex the man responds: ‘I don’t give a f*** what you want, you little s***.’ 

What quickly becomes clear is that for a small club this is a big deal. 

Put simply, you do not support Getafe unless you are from Getafe. Crowds range from around 10,000 to 14,000. Some are calling it ‘Masonmania’. 

At his unveiling last week – where questions on the suspension were banned – 4,000 turned up. When news of his signing broke, a group of around 40 excited youngsters waited outside the main entrance, although some believe those present may have been friends of friends of club officials. 

A Twitter account set up by the club in English in July, has attracted 46,600 followers. 

Over the road from the Coliseum, which holds 17,000 and looks like a smaller version of Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium, a tiny retail store sits on the corner of a block of flats. 

In what amounts to the size of a living room, empty cardboard boxes are stacked high in a telltale sign of the roaring business they have done since Greenwood’s arrival. 

Greenwood is yet to make his debut for Getafe following his deadline day arrival on loan

Greenwood will wear No 12 for Getafe and could make his debut against Osasuna this weekend

In the space of a week they have sold more shirts with the former United man’s name on than of any other player in the history of the club. It is big news here but not elsewhere. 

Outside of Getafe there appears to be little dissent and the prospect of any protest is unlikely. 

Interestingly, Osasuna – who Greenwood may well make his debut against on Sunday afternoon – are thought to have been offered the opportunity to sign him but decided against it because they were wary of the negative impact it would have on the image of what prides itself as a family club. 

The reality in Getafe is that for most it is not an issue. ‘Things in Spain are often black or white,’ one Madrid-based executive explained. 

‘It’s either right or it’s wrong – there is never a grey area. As far as Getafe and their fans are concerned, Greenwood was not found guilty and so there is no problem – it’s as simple as that.’ 

The executive also pointed to other cases where Spanish footballers have been accused of domestic abuse that have ultimately been dropped that have had an impact on public perception. 

‘As bad as it may sound, there is almost a fatigue with allegations of this kind,’ they said. The lack of noise is, perhaps, surprising given events elsewhere. 

Getafe fans believe it is a real coup for their club to have Greenwood playing for them

Fans clamour for Greenwood’s shirt at his unveiling and they’re selling well in the club shop 

Fans have quickly taken to their new star, who will wear the No 12 shirt this season

The resignation of former FA president Luis Rubiales following his crotch-grabbing, unwanted kissing antics at the Women’s World Cup Final grabbed the nation’s attention. 

On Tuesday, a female television journalist was reporting live from the streets of Madrid when a passing man stopped and touched her backside. He was later arrested. 

But the circumstances around Greenwood’s arrival here appear to have largely gone under the radar. 

While the background has been reported locally and nationally, the fact the 21-year-old is playing for Getafe, and not one of the giants, means there is not the interest you might imagine. 

The noises from those close to the situation from a football perspective are positive. 

Getafe have pulled out all the stops. Greenwood and his family have been welcomed with open arms. They have dined with the president in a high-end steak restaurant. 

A translator is available 24-7. Transport for relatives to and from the airport has been arranged. Nothing is too much trouble. 

Greenwood leaves court in Manchester in November last year having been charged with attempted rape, actual bodily harm and coercive behaviour – the case against him was discontinued in February this year

Greenwood scored 35 goals in 129 matches for United, including this one against Astana 

Greenwood is searching for a house in the Boadilla del Monte district, located to the west of Madrid city centre and a 25-30 minute drive to Getafe 

Greenwood has been living with his father while searching for a house in Boadilla del Monte, a quiet, high-income neighbourhood to the west of the city. 

While he may be with one of the Madrid’s poorer relations, the reality is that he is earning Premier League money in one of Europe’s major cities. Team-mates have been quick to extend the offer of friendship. 

Greenwood has been keen to find out from one ex-Barcelona player what it was like to play alongside Lionel Messi. 

Greenwood’s partner has been similarly taken in by the WAGs and has been on a tour of Madrid’s high-end department stores. 

While the optics outside of Spain may not be great, the immediate focus in the country is on what Greenwood can do on the pitch. 

Getafe are a club that is respected for punching above its weight. They are perennial survivors in LaLiga and are well-run from a tiny staff in which the longstanding president Angel Torres is also the owner. 

They have a strong relationship with Real Madrid and have often loaned young players from their big neighbours. Those who deal with the club speak highly of them. 

There have been some glimpses of the old Greenwood in early training sessions at Getafe

Greenwood’s team-mates have helped him settle and Getafe have supplied translation services to help with the language barrier

Torres is known as straightforward down-to-earth and honest dealer, skills rarely seen in certain areas of the industry. 

Last season was their sixth consecutive in the top flight. They finished two points clear of the drop and are keen to avoid a repeat. 

It is thought that while there was a recognition of the baggage Greenwood brings, football rationale was forefront in the thinking behind the move. 

The league itself are also thought to be on board. There is a borderline obsession with competing with the Premier League, despite the riches enjoyed by clubs in England. 

For a club the size of Getafe, despite the backdrop, to secure a player of the ability of Greenwood is being seen as something of a coup. 

It also comes at a time when LaLiga has been hurt by the departure of players abroad. And then there is the impact on those directly involved. 

‘For Mason and his family it has been a breath of fresh air,’ a friend, who claimed the player had ‘seriously matured’, explained. 

‘For a long time his life in Manchester was restricted to his house. In Spain he can go to the supermarket and the restaurant and if people recognise him they are warm towards him. 

Greenwood’s partner, Harriet Robson, shared a photo from the stadium before his unveiling

Robson also posted a picture of a Getafe shirt emblazoned with the word ‘daddy’ and the No 12

‘The fear he had in the UK is not there anymore. It’s early, but he can’t believe how well it has gone so far.’ 

United continue to offer support. In the early stages, they facilitated travel and accommodation. There are regular checks-in from the club’s player welfare department. They are happy with how the situation is unfolding so far. 

The view at Old Trafford is that Greenwood remains their player, has not been found guilty of any offences and they have a responsibility to ensure he can restart his career, albeit away from Manchester. 

The fact he will play in an elite competition without the spotlight that may exist elsewhere has not gone unnoticed. 

One of the issues taken into consideration when chief executive Richard Arnold carried out United’s review after the CPS dropped the charges following the withdrawal of key witnesses and emergence of new evidence was the likely reaction from opposition supporters. That is unlikely to be a problem here. 

Ultras at Spanish clubs tend to be politically left or right. One exec told me that while there may be issues from fans of clubs such as Sevilla, who lean to the left, any hostility will be nowhere near the levels that could have been expected in England. 

In training, which takes place down the road from the stadium in a complex next to a local sports centre, Greenwood has looked rusty and a little under-strength but there have been flashes of the touch, skill and finishing that at one stage made him the talk of the Stretford End and saw him score 17 in a season, becoming one of only four United teenagers to do so in the club’s long history. 

Greenwood produced a no-look pass during a training exercise that made Getafe’s X feed 

Coaching staff have been impressed but there has been talk of being patient. 

The loan deal is to the end of the season and will see Getafe pay a total of 1m euros. United will continue to pay more than £50,000 of his weekly salary. There is no break clause and no option to buy. 

It would be wrong to conclude that it is all positivity. At the unveiling, questions on Greenwood’s past were dismissed. Some Spanish journalists have been angered by what they see as a shutters-down approach. 

It is understood that Getafe’s players have been told not to answer questions about the subject and have been warned that they may be approached by British media. 

That message appears to have been passed on to those at the stadium. When I approached the lone bank of turnstiles that serves the entire venue to ask a security guard if I could go inside to take picture I was sharply told ‘No! Closed’. 

As you leave Getafe and rejoin the M-45 for Madrid you pass a huge depot for the city’s transport system. 

The link to this being the end of the line for Greenwood is an obvious one. But speak to those involved and this is far from it. They hope it is the start of a new journey. 


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