Dani Alves
Dani Alves, who could face a nine-year jail term was on holiday in Barcelona at the time after playing for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar AFP / Odd ANDERSEN

Former FC Barcelona defender Dani Alves is set to finally go on trial on Monday, February 5, 2024, more that a year since he was arrested and jailed in the Brians 2 prison in Barcelona. The Brazilian footballer has been accused of raping a young woman whom he met at a nightclub in the city back in December 2022.

The former Barcelona and PSG player is facing a nine-year prison sentence if found guilty of the charges. Beyond that he may also be subjected to another 10 years of conditional liberty. Prosecutors are also seeking reparations of 150,000 euros (£128,000) to be paid to his 23-year-old accuser.

The trial opens at 9 am GMT and will continue until Wednesday.

What is Dani Alves accused of?

Alves and the alleged victim reportedly met at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona on the night of December 30, 2022. The woman was accompanied by her cousin and a friend, and they immediately sought assistance from Sutton staff after the alleged rape that she says took place inside the VIP bathroom of the club.

According to the complainant, Alves and a Mexican friend invited their group to a VIP table where Barcelona's most decorated player was immediately overly handsy with the women. He then lured her to the bathroom where he forced himself on her.

After the club employees became aware of the complaint, police were notified and statements and evidence were gathered in the early hours of December 31, 2022. The victim's statements were reportedly consistent with those of several witnesses, including club employees. Because the woman immediately filed a complaint, evidence was intact and was taken from her body, clothes, and the VIP bathroom before it got contaminated.

Alves was arrested just a few weeks later in January 2023, when he returned to Barcelona to attend the funeral of his wife's mother. He has been in jail awaiting trial since, after the court found enough evidence to keep him in custody until the case is resolved.

The footballer, who was contracted to Liga MX side Pumas UNAM at that time, initially denied even knowing the young woman. Evidence proved that he had sexual relations with his accuser, and Alves later confessed that there had indeed been penetrative sex between them, but it was consensual. He said that he merely wanted to avoid letting his wife know about the infidelity, hence his denial.

According to the prosecution, Alves allegedly invited the woman to enter the VIP bathroom in the nightclub, where he forced her to have intercourse: "The victim asked him several times to let her go, saying she wanted to leave but the defendant prevented her from doing so."

The woman received medical treatment immediately after and is also being treated for PTSD following the traumatic experience.

Alves remains in prison a year later

After the player was arrested, Pumas decided to terminate Alves' contract. In any case, they were left with no other option after the Brazilian was detained and denied bail. The judge in Barcelona saw Alves as a "flight risk" due to his substantial economic capacity to fly anywhere he wants to on short notice. On top of that, he is also a dual Spanish and Brazilian citizen. He could potentially seek refuge in the South American country, where no extradition treaty exists with Spain.

Alves and his legal team have made several attempts to get him out of prison while he awaits trial. He even volunteered to wear a tracking device while on house arrest, but the judge denied all of his appeals.

The footballer's lawyers also lost an appeal to keep the trial behind closed doors. He is expected to take the stand, but no media nor members of the public will be allowed inside at that moment. The accuser's identity has never been revealed thus far, and it remains to be seen if that will change once the trial gets underway.

A plea deal may still be reached in the coming hours, something which may help prevent the spectacle of a public trial. In that case, Alves will have to admit guilt in exchange of a lighter sentence.