Ched Evans has been found not guilty of rape after a retrial at Cardiff Crown Court.
The Chesterfield striker was sentenced to five years in prison in 2012, of which he served two and a half, after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman at a Premier Inn in Rhuddlan, Wales the year before.
That verdict was quashed in April and a retrial ordered which, on Friday, cleared the former Wales international of any wrongdoing.
A jury of seven women and five men took just three hours to deliver their decision, after which Evans, 27, was discharged from the dock before embracing his fiancee Natasha Massey.
Prior to joining League One side Chesterfield in June, Evans last played professionally for Sheffield United in 2011-12.
Since his release from prison in October 2014, Sheffield United, Hartlepool United and Oldham Athletic all pulled out of deals to sign the striker over fan backlashes.
Speaking on the steps of the court, Evans’ lawyer read out a statement on his client’s behalf.
It read: “In the early hours of May 30, 2011 an incident occurred in North Wales that was to change my life and the lives of others forever.
“That incident did not involve the committing of a criminal offence and I am overwhelmed with relief that today the jury agreed.
“I would like to thank my legal team for their tireless efforts on my behalf and thanks too go to my friends and family, most notably my fiancee, Natasha, who chose perhaps incredibly to support me in my darkest hour
“Whilst my innocence has now been established, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone who might have been affected by the events of the night in question.”