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Dani Alves arrested: what we know about night of alleged sexual assault

Dani Alves is being held on remand without bail in a Barcelona jail, after a 23-year-old woman accused the footballer of sexually assaulting her in a nightclub.

Dani Alves is being held on remand without bail in a Barcelona jail, after a 23-year-old woman accused the footballer of sexually assaulting her in a nightclub.

Footballer Dani Alves has been held in a Barcelona jail since Friday, after a Spanish judge ordered the Brazilian to be detained without bail over allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in a nightclub in the city.

Alves, who until Friday played for Liga MX club Pumas, last week travelled from Mexico to Spain for his mother-in-law’s funeral. His intention was to return to North America as soon as possible, and rejoin training ahead of Pumas’ Clausura 2023 match against Club León on Sunday. However, he has been forced to remain on Spanish soil after the judge was sufficiently convinced by the testimony of his alleged victim, and the evidence gathered by the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force.

Woman says Alves invited her to table in VIP area

The sexual assault, for which Alves could now be facing a prison sentence of up to 12 years, is alleged to have occurred on 30 December at Barcelona’s Sutton nightclub. The 39-year-old former Barça player had travelled to Spain last month with his wife, the Spanish model Joana Sanz, to celebrate the new year.

On the day before New Year’s Eve, Alves met up with friends at the nightclub, located in the city’s upmarket Sant Gervasi-Galvany district. According to the 23-year-old woman who has reported Alves to the police, she went with two female friends to Sutton, where they were invited into the VIP area by a group of Mexican revellers. Once inside, a waiter told them that someone wanted them to join him at his table.

Led to bathroom, where Alves allegedly raped her

As the Spanish newspapers El Mundo and El País both recount, that someone was Alves, who is said to have introduced himself to them as a “petanque player in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat [a town on the outskirts of Barcelona].” It was the Mexicans who revealed his true identity to the women; the complainant says she didn’t know who he was. Per her testimony, as she danced with Alves, he tried to guide her hand towards his penis on several occasions, but she resisted his attempts.

The Brazilian is later claimed to have asked her to follow him through a doorway, which, she then found out, led her to the small bathroom in which the alleged assault took place, at around 4:30am. She says the player hit and raped her. Alves is said to have been the first to leave the bathroom, before exiting the nightclub with a friend. The woman went to find her friends, who sought out the club’s security staff. The establishment’s protocol of assistance to a victim of sexual violence was then activated.

With Alves nowhere to be found, the Mossos d’Esquadra arrived within about five minutes. An ambulance took the woman to Barcelona’s Hospital Clínic, where she underwent an examination to collect evidence from her body. On 2 January, she then filed an official police complaint against Alves, submitting the hospital report and the clothes she had been wearing that night. The footballer, meanwhile, had flown back to Mexico, where he remained until he returned to Spain last week in the wake of his mother-in-law’s death.

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Judge convinced by woman’s story, but not by Alves’

The judge considered the woman’s version of events to be solid. The Mossos d’Esquadra had arranged a meeting with Alves, speaking to him at the police station on Friday before taking him to Barcelona’s Ciutat de la Justícia courthouse, where he was held in a cell while his alleged victim testified. Her statement was backed up not only by the physical evidence collected, but also security-camera recordings from the nightclub.

Alves’ testimony, on the other hand, was deemed to contain contradictions. “I was there with other people, having a good time, without invading other people’s space,” he told Spanish TV channel Antena 3. “I don’t know who the woman is, I’d like to deny everything.” However, El Periódico has reported that the security-camera footage - which the judge watched - shows Alves was in the woman’s company.

The Catalonia-based newspaper adds that the Hospital Clínic’s report says “some injuries consistent with a struggle” were found on the complainant’s body. It has also been reported that the player changed his version of events during his testimony, admitting that he did have sex with the woman, but claiming that it was consensual.

Per El Periódico, the footballer can be seen going into and out of the VIP area bathroom, where traces of semen were later found.

Alves is being held on remand as he was a flight risk: he had the financial means to leave Spain, he does not have sufficiently significant roots in the country, and Brazil does not have an extradition treaty with the Spanish authorities.