Brazil footballer Dani Alves detained over sexual assault allegations

Published January 20, 2023
<p>Brazil’s Dani Alves in action during the Round of 16 match against South Korea at the Qatar World Cup on December 5, 2022. — Reuters</p>

Brazil’s Dani Alves in action during the Round of 16 match against South Korea at the Qatar World Cup on December 5, 2022. — Reuters

Spanish public prosecutors requested on Friday that Brazil defender Dani Alves be held in custody after he was arrested in Barcelona over allegations he sexually assaulted a woman.

The 39-year-old player was “taken into custody” after being summoned to a Barcelona police station. He will now be questioned by a judge, said a spokesperson for Catalonia’s police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra.

Public prosecutors have asked that Alves be held in “provisional detention without bail,” a source at the public prosecutor’s office said. A judge still must agee to the request.

Catalan police said they received a complaint on January 2 from a woman who said Alves had touched her inappropriately.

The alleged sexual assault took place at a popular Barcelona nightclub overnight December 30-31, according to Spanish media reports.

Daily newspaper ABC said Alves allegedly put his hands inside the underwear of a woman without her consent while she was dancing with friends and then followed her into a toilet.

She is said to have informed security staff in the club, who activated Barcelona city council’s protocol against assaults and sexual harassment.

The player has confirmed he was at the nightclub at the time but has denied any wrongdoing, telling private Spanish television station Antena 3 earlier this month that he has “never seen” the woman before.

“I was there, at that place, with more people having fun. Everybody knows I love to dance. Having a good time but without invading the space of others,” the former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain player added.

His wife Joana Sanz told Antena 3 in an interview on January 9 that her husband had gone “out to dinner with friends, to disconnect a bit” on December 30.

“He went out to dance and try to enjoy music as likes, period. Nothing wrong happened […] I know how respectful he is,” she added.

Alves, who now plays for Mexican side Pumas UNAM, was in Barcelona on holiday following his participation at the World Cup with Brazil in Qatar.

He was the oldest player to represent Brazil at the men’s World Cup.

A Barcelona court said earlier this month it had opened a probe “into an alleged crime of sexual assault as a result of a complaint filed by a woman against a footballer”.

In a phenomenally successful career, Alves made 408 appearances for Barcelona, with 391 of those coming in his first spell from 2008-2016.

During that initial stint, he won six La Liga titles, three Champions League crowns and four Copa del Rey trophies.

Alves joined PSG in July 2017 on a free transfer after leaving Juventus and spent two years at the Qatari-owned French giants.

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