Spanish court jails Alves for four a half years for rape

February 22 – Former Brazilian international Dani Alves, one of the most decorated footballers in history, has been sentenced to four and a half years in jail after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in an Barcelona nightclub on New Years Eve in 2022.

The verdict by Catalonia’s top court shatters the reputation of one of the game’s most successful fullbacks during his time at Barcelona  for whom he played over 400 times – Paris St. Germain, Juventus and Sevilla.

The judgement followed a three-day trial in which Alves, who won 43 major trophies and played in three World Cups, denied any wrongdoing. He was also ordered to pay the victim €150,000 but crucially can appeal against the decision.

Alves, who is now 40 and won virtually every trophy in the book except the World Cup during a stellar career, was  accused by his victim of raping her in a bathroom of an upmarket Barcelona nightclub.

The three judges said it had been proven Alves “grabbed hold of the victim, threw her on the ground and prevented her from moving while he penetrated her, despite her saying ‘no’ and insisting she wanted to leave.’”

They said in their 61-page ruling the victim had acted coherently during the investigation and the trial that followed it and nothing in any of her court quizzes had revealed any contradictions.

“The sentence considers that it has been proven that the victim did not consent, and that there is evidence, in addition to the testimony of the plaintiff, to consider the rape proven,” the court said in a statement.

State prosecutors had sought a nine-year prison sentence while the lawyers representing his accuser wanted 12 years. Alves’ defence, conversely, asked for a total acquittal, or if found guilty a one-year sentence plus €50,000 compensation for the victim.

Alves, who just over a year ago in Qatar became the oldest player to represent Brazil at the World Cup, has already been in detention since being arrested in January 2023. His requests for bail were denied because the court considered him a flight risk.

He changed his defence while in custody, first denying any sexual contact before admitting to sexual relations that he insisted were consensual.

He said he had been trying to save his marriage by initially not admitting to the encounter. During the trial itself, his defence focused on trying to show that Alves was drunk when he met the woman.

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