Soccer player Dani Alves arrested in Barcelona over alleged sexual assault

The former Barça defender has been accused of having abused a woman in a nightclub last December, an accusation that he has denied in a statement to Spanish television

Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves, during a match with the Pumas, in Mexico City.
Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves, during a match with the Pumas, in Mexico City.Hector Vivas (Getty Images)

Former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain defender Dani Alves was arrested in Barcelona on Friday in relation to an alleged sexual assault at a nightclub in the Catalan capital on December 31. The 39-year-old, who was in Brazil’s World Cup squad in Qatar, was detained after arriving in Barcelona from Mexico, where he plays for Liga MX side Pumas, and provided a statement to the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra police force.

Alves was then transported to a Barcelona court where a judge will decide on the charges. In Spain, a charge of sexual assault can mean anything from unsolicited and unwanted sexual groping to rape. Police said they could give no details on the case. The complaint was lodged by an unnamed woman on January 2.

Alves had previously provided Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 with a video statement denying the allegations. “First off, I would like to deny everything. I was there, in that place, with more people, enjoying myself. Everyone knows that I love to dance. Enjoying myself, but without invading the space of others. I’m very sorry, but I have no idea who that lady is, I don’t know who she is, I’ve never seen her in my life. In all these years I have never invaded someone’s personal space, much less without consent, how am I going to do it with a woman or a girl? For God’s sake, no. It’s gone far enough now because it’s causing hurt, above all to my people. To my loved ones, because they know who I am.”

According to sources close to Pumas, the Mexican team were unaware of Alves’ situation and had expected him to play at the weekend. Alves had asked for permission to miss a Liga MX game last weekend due to the death of his mother-in-law and that was the reason for his trip to Barcelona, reports Diego Mancera.

Alves signed for Pumas last summer after a short second spell at Camp Nou, where he formed part of the successful Barcelona side of the Leo Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi years, winning the Champions League three times, La Liga six times and four Copas del Rey. He had subsequent stints at Juventus and PSG before signing for São Paulo in 2019, prior to his return to Barcelona in 2021.

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