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Alves on Trial for Rape in Barcelona

Former Brazilian international, Dani Alves commenced his trial on Monday in Barcelona over accusations of raping a woman at a local nightclub in 2022.

Prosecutors are seeking a nine-year prison sentence, along with 10 years of conditional liberty under supervision and they are also requesting that Alves pay 150,000 euros ($162,000) in compensation to the alleged victim.

Alves, 40, known for his time at Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain, arrived at the court in a police van from a nearby prison, where he has been held since his arrest in January 2023.

The charges stem from an incident on December 31, 2022, when a young woman accused the legendary right back of raping her in a bathroom in the VIP area of the upscale Sutton nightclub in Barcelona.

Initially, Alves denied knowing the woman during a television interview but later admitted to having consensual sex.

Meanwhile, the trial which is expected to be concluded on Wednesday will involve testimonies from approximately 30 individuals, including Alves, his wife, the alleged victim, and nightclub staff.

Similarly, the verdict is anticipated to be delivered several weeks after the conclusion of the trial.

According to the prosecution’s case, Alves, who was visiting Barcelona after playing for Brazil in the World Cup in Qatar, offered champagne to the woman and her friend. He then allegedly invited her into a small enclosure at the nightclub without knowing that it was a lavatory.

Once inside, Alves reportedly displayed a “violent attitude” and forced her to engage in intercourse despite her resistance. Prosecutors have described the situation as one of “anguish and terror” for the young woman, who sought medical treatment following the incident and is currently receiving care for post-traumatic stress.

However, Alves’ defense team requested that he testify last, but the court has yet to decide on the matter. The trial has attracted attention, although, it will not be open to the public and media during the alleged victim’s testimony.

Alves’ legal team had attempted to keep the entire trial closed to the public and the identity of the woman has remained undisclosed.

Throughout the course of the investigation, the former Barcelona defender has changed his account multiple times as new evidence has emerged. He initially lied about knowing the accuser, citing fear that his wife would leave him if he admitted to being with another woman.

However, in an interview with La Vanguardia, he expressed having a clear conscience regarding the events that took place in the nightclub’s bathroom. Alves’ mother, Lucia Alves, also drew controversy by naming and sharing a photo of her son’s accuser on social media in January, though, she has since removed the post and may face prosecution as a result.

Following his impressive career while playing the round leather game, Alves is considered as one of the greatest full-backs of all time, winning 42 trophies in total. His three Champions League titles were achieved while playing for Barcelona, and he also clinched two Copa America titles with Brazil.

After his arrest, he was released by Mexican club, Pumas UNAM – and Spanish courts have repeatedly denied his requests for release pending trial, citing concerns about his potential flight risk to Brazil, where citizens are not banished.

Hope Ejairu

Hope Ejairu is a writer, sports analyst and journalist, with publications on print and digital media. He holds certifications in various media/journalism trainings, including AFP.

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