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Dani Alves was sentenced to a long prison sentence. © APA/afp / JORDI BORRAS

Long prison sentence for Barca icon Dani Alves

Professional footballer Dani Alves has been sentenced to a long prison sentence by a court in Barcelona. The Brazilian also has to pay a heavy fine.

Dani Alves was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexual assault. Catalonia's highest court found the 40-year-old Brazilian guilty on Thursday of having sex with a woman - against her will - in a nightclub in Barcelona at the end of 2022. According to the verdict, Alves must pay his victim 150.000 euros. The former FC Barcelona player had already been in custody for a year and was present at the announcement.

A young woman had accused Alves of forcing her to have sex in a toilet in the VIP area of ​​the nightclub on the night of December 31, 2022. In addition to the plaintiff's statement, there is also evidence to consider the rape as proven, the court announced in a statement. However, appeals could still be lodged against the verdict. The public prosecutor's office had demanded a nine-year prison sentence, the plaintiff's lawyers twelve years.

Dani Alves has played 126 international matches for Brazil. © APA/afp / ADRIAN DENNIS

Alves rejected the allegations in the trial two weeks ago. According to him, the sexual acts took place with the young woman's consent. “She didn’t tell me that she didn’t want to,” emphasized the ex-defender through tears. “We both enjoyed it.” However, the former Brazilian international admitted to three judges and the numerous journalists who attended that he had been drunk that night.

Lying to save the marriage

During the initial investigation, Alves initially denied any sexual contact with the then 23-year-old woman, as the Catalan justice system announced. He then explained in court that he had initially lied to save his marriage. “I thought my wife wouldn’t forgive me.”

Dani Alves at the trial in Barcelona. © APA/afp / ALBERTO ESTEVEZ

The woman who accused Alves was questioned behind closed doors at the start of the trial. More than two dozen witnesses and experts were also heard during the three-day criminal trial. Two of the young woman's companions as well as police officers, doctors and nightclub employees said that the young woman was "in shock" after the incident.

Alves was arrested three weeks after the incident, on January 20, 2023, during a visit to Catalonia and was then held in custody. In addition to Barca, the 126-time Brazilian international played in Europe for Sevilla FC, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, among others. Alves was most recently employed by the UNAM Pumas, but the Mexican club parted ways with the veteran star immediately after the arrest.

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