Dani Alves
Former FC Barcelona and Brazil defender Dani Alves remains in prison over rape allegations. AFP / Ulises Ruiz

FC Barcelona legend Dani Alves continues to languish in prison after having been denied a request for bail for the third time. The Brazilian footballer was arrested on January 20 earlier this year after having been accused of sexual assault by a woman he met at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona in December 2022.

Alves had been under contract with Liga MX side Pumas UNAM at the time, and had returned to Barcelona to attend the funeral of his wife's mother in Barcelona. However, courts found that there was enough evidence to pursue the case against the footballer, and he has been detained at the Brians 2 prison in Barcelona since his arrest.

As a result of the case, Pumas decided to terminate his contract with the club, and there were reports claiming that they were even seeking compensation from the player due to violations on the terms of his contract.

Alves and his legal team had previously made two other attempts to seek his temporary release by requesting bail, but the courts have deemed him to be a flight risk due to his significant financial capabilities and his dual citizenship. Now, for a third time, Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo reports that the situation has not changed in the eyes of the court, and the request for bail has not been granted.

What is the current status of the case?

As mentioned earlier, Alves has now been in prison for ten months. His case is expected to go to trial in early 2024, meaning that he will probably see the anniversary of his time in prison.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that the prosecutors in charge of the case are seeking a nine-year prison term for Alves. However, it has now been revealed that the decorated defender's legal team has made steps to reduce his possible jail term.

According to the same report from MD, Alves has paid his accuser €150k (£130k) in an attempt to secure a significantly reduced sentence. This alleged settlement is reportedly meant to settle damages inflicted upon the young woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in the VIP comfort room of the Sutton nightclub.

Alves and his team are hoping that should he be found guilty, a sentence of two years or lower might be given. He has already served almost a year in prison, meaning he will be left with only a few months to year left to serve by the time the trial concludes.

They were hoping to finally be able to post bail so that Alves can at least await his trial outside the prison cell, but the Prosecutor's Office sees him as a flight risk now more than ever, especially as it becomes more evident that the case is strong against him.

It may be remembered that his accuser immediately filed a complaint on the same night of the incident, and she was assisted by the club's staff without any delay. She was examined by a medical team and local police was also alerted immediately. As such, evidence was gathered from the scene before anything was disturbed following the alleged incident.

In light of the evidence, Alves was forced to admit that he had penetrated the woman while they were together in the VIP toilet, despite denying even meeting her in his initial statement. He then changed his story a number of times, eventually saying that they had consensual sexual relations.

He claimed that he gave contradicting statements in an attempt to hide his infidelity from his wife, Spanish model Joana Sanz. She has since separated from the footballer, but claims that he is refusing to grant her a divorce.