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Ex-Barcelona Defender, Dani Alves Sentenced to Four and a Half Years in Person

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Ex-FC Barcelona defender Dani Alves has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexual assault by a court in Barcelona, Spain.

The 40-year-old Brazilian footballer was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in an upscale Barcelona nightclub early on New Year’s Eve in December 2022.

The victim said Alves raped her in a bathroom. He was also ordered to pay 150,000 euros ($163,000) to the victim by the court.

The court ruled that the victim did not consent to sexual intercourse and that there is evidence to prove the rape that Alves was accused of carrying out in a bathroom of the Sutton nightclub’s VIP section in the early hours of 31 December 2022.

He was arrested three weeks after the incident and detained ever since while accused of “sexual assault with penetration”.

Prosecutors called for a nine-year prison term for Alves followed by 10 years of probation. They also wanted him to pay $163,000 (€150,000) in compensation to the victim, which has been ordered by the court.

Alves denied any wrongdoing during the trial. As the case was being investigated, Alves said while in custody that he did not have any sexual contact with her.

He later admitted to sexual relations but said they were consensual. He said he had been trying to save his marriage by not admitting to the encounter initially.

Alves said that he had originally lied because he was afraid his wife Joanna Sanz would leave him.

State prosecutors had sought a nine-year prison sentence for Alves while the lawyers representing his accuser wanted 12 years.

His defence asked for his acquittal, or if found guilty a one-year sentence plus 50,000 euros (£42,765) compensation for the victim.

Alves has been in jail since being detained on January 20, 2023.

His requests for bail were denied because the court considered him a flight risk. Brazil does not extradite its own citizens when they are sentenced in other countries.

Alves won dozens of titles with elite clubs including Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

He also helped Brazil win two Copa Americas and an Olympic gold medal at age 38. He played at his third World Cup, the only major title he has not won, in 2022.

He was with Mexican club Pumas when he was arrested. Pumas terminated his contract immediately.

The Alves case was the first high-profile sex crime since Spain overhauled its legislation in 2022 to make consent, or the lack thereof, central to defining a sex crime in response to an upswell of protests after a gang-rape case during the San Fermin bull-running festival in Pamplona in 2016.

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