Former Barca Star Dani Alves Faces High-Stakes Sexual Assault Trial in Barcelona

Dani Alves, the former Barcelona and Brazil footballer, is currently embroiled in a high-profile sexual assault trial in Barcelona, Spain, drawing widespread attention due to his stature in the football world.

Dani Alves sits in court during the first day of his trial in Barcelona, Spain, on 5 February
Dani Alves sits in court during the first day of his trial in Barcelona, Spain, on 5 February. Photograph: Reuters

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Case Background

The allegations stem from an incident on December 31, 2022, at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona, where Alves stands accused of sexually assaulting a woman. He has been in pre-trial custody for over a year following the accusation.

Accusations and Testimonies

The woman alleges that Alves sexually assaulted her in a VIP area and a private bathroom at the nightclub, where he reportedly slapped her, used derogatory language, and raped her. Witnesses, including the woman’s friend and cousin, testified that when she exited the bathroom she was distraught and told them that Alves had “hurt her badly”.

Dani Alves’ Defense

Alves maintains his innocence, denying all allegations of violence and assault. During the trial, he asserted that the woman could have left if she felt uncomfortable and emphasized his non-violent nature. Alves also denied hitting the young woman. His defense team presented nightclub security footage to challenge the accuser’s testimony.

Trial Proceedings

The trial took place in a Barcelona court, with strict measures to protect the accuser’s identity from media, including closed-door testimony with no camera access and a screen separating her from Alves. Alves’ mother was also present during the proceedings.

Expert Insights

Psychological experts who treated the woman after the alleged rape testified to the woman’s post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, according to them there were no indication that she was inventing the situation or exaggerating it and she showed clear signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, defense experts suggested that media scrutiny may have influenced her emotional state.

Potential Outcomes

If found guilty, Alves could face a prison sentence ranging from four to 15 years under Spanish law. The public prosecutor in this case is seeking a nine-year jail term for Alves, and for him to pay damages of €150,000 (£128,000) to the woman.

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