Benjamin Mendy, a Manchester City defender, was seen leaving court today after being released on bail ahead of his rape trial.
Since his first court appearance in August, the French left-back, 27, had been remanded in custody.
After being transferred from Category B prison HMP Altcourse, the footballer spent Christmas at top-security prison Strangeways.
Mendy, on the other hand, has been released on bail after being charged with seven counts of rape and one count of sexual assault against five women over the age of 16.
He was seen leaving Chester Crown Court wearing a yellow and green prison jumpsuit and handcuffs.
During a private hearing today, Judge Patrick Thompson released him but imposed a list of “stringent” conditions.
He must hand in his passport, stay at his home address, and avoid contact with the complainants.
Mendy was denied bail by a judge in October after a 50-minute hearing. This was Mendy’s third bail application.
Mendy, who was charged with a seventh rape count last month, will appear in Chester Crown Court on January 24 before a provisional trial date on June 27.
The new offence involves a new complainant and is said to have occurred in July of this year.
Mendy was already facing six rape counts against four women when the new charge was added.
Co-defendant Louis Saha Matturie, 40 is accused of six counts of rape and one sexual assault.