Dani Alves trial
Ex-Brazil international Dani Alves, seen here on the first day of his trial, testified on Wednesday, February 7, 2024. POOL via AFP / Jordi BORRAS

Former FC Barcelona defender Dani Alves is awaiting the verdict following the conclusion of the trial for his sexual assault case, which took place between February 5 and 7earlier this year. As the entire football world awaits the court's decision on the fate of the legendary footballer, it has been claimed that Alves had been planning to escape to Brazil if he had been freed on bail.

To those unaware, Alves was accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman at the Sutton Nightclub in Barcelona on the night of December 30, 2022. He was arrested on January 20, 2023, when he returned to Spain a few weeks after the alleged incident to attend the funeral of his wife's mother.

Alves was subsequently detained after an arraignment found that there was enough evidence to keep him in prison. The footballer awaited trial for over a year, and during the course of that waiting period, he remained in the Brians 2 prison in Barcelona. His legal team made several attempts to get him out on bail, but each time, the judge ruled that there was a significant flight risk.

The trial finally took place in the first week of February this year, during which time about thirty people gave their testimonies, including Alves himself, who maintained his innocence. According to him, he and the young woman merely had consensual sexual relations. He is now facing between 9 to 12 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

What does it mean when Alves is considered a flight risk?

Following the trial, the Prosecutor's Office and the private prosecution once again opposed the request to release Alves on bail even if he volunteered to wear a tracking device so he could stay on house arrest.

According to a statement by the Prosecutor's Office: "The elements of flight risk still exist. The stifled economic situation is a bit striking. Alves's football heritage is very high, he is one of the best players in history. He still has financial capacity or friends who have it. We insist that Brazil does not have an extradition agreement. Now that the possible conviction is so close to the risk of flight, for us it is much more."

In other words, it is a known fact that Alves is a man who owns significant assets after having been one of the most decorated players in FC Barcelona history. He also played for the Brazilian national football team, and at the time of his arrest, was under contract with Liga MX side Pumas UNAM.

Apart from his economic capacity, Alves is also a dual citizen for Spain and Brazil. This is the second factor which has stopped the judge from allowing Alves to be freed on bail. With his money and connections, he could find a way to fly to Brazil before the verdict is out, and Brazil traditionally does not extradite its citizens. As such, the footballer could return home without facing the consequences of his actions, if there are any.

Now, to put more weight on this scenario, Spanish TV program "TardeAR", led by journalist Ana Rosa Quintana, claims to have gotten hold of one of Alves' former cellmates. According to this man, who has so far not bene identified, Alves confessed to him that he fully intends to fly to Brazil should he be let out of prison.

According to the alleged former cellmate: "If they give this guy provisional release while awaiting trial, he takes it and leaves for Brazil permanently."

Fellow journalist Silvia Alamo appeared to consider the veracity of the story, saying: "It seems to us to be a revealing testimony that would demonstrate that there was a risk of flight. I have been working on it for quite a few months. Tomorrow we will give information about who is in that conversation and where they are from. He is a person very close to Alves who we are going to put name, because he is already out of prison (...) There is a rupture between them for telling this."

The verdict is expected to come out in the coming days, and the fate of one of the best footballers in recent history will finally be revealed.