Dani Alves Sentenced to Four-and-a-Half Years in Jail for Rape

By Xorkpe Sosu 10 Min Read

Footballer Dani Alves has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for raping a woman at a nightclub in Spain.

The 40-year-old, who most recently played for Mexican side UNAM Pumas, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on Thursday after being found guilty of raping a woman at a Spanish nightclub.

The former Barcelona star, who is married and has two children, learned his fate after being driven to the Barcelona court where he was tried earlier this month.

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Alves had been in custody at Brians 2 Prison near the Catalan capital since his arrest in January last year and is now facing his first night behind bars as a convicted sex offender.

Alves, 40, has protested his innocence and his lawyer has confirmed they will appeal the verdict.

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He claimed that the sexual encounter with his 23-year-old accuser was consensual, taking place in a toilet at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona in the early hours of December 31, 2022.

The woman, who was today found to have been raped by the footballer, testified that he had forced himself on her after hitting her while she gave evidence in court behind a screen.

Dani Alves Jail terms

State prosecutors sought a nine-year jail term for him, and a lawyer representing the victim had demanded a 12-year sentence if he was convicted.

The three trial judges, in a 61-page written ruling released after Alves was sentenced in this morning’s closed-door court hearing, stated that they had considered his pre-payment of the £128,000 (€150,000) compensation he was ordered to give his victim as a ‘mitigating factor.’

They concluded that the victim had danced with Alves before voluntarily going to a toilet next to the VIP area at Sutton nightclub, where the footballer had entered moments earlier, suggesting a prior agreement to ‘be with him in a more intimate space.’

Dani Alves Sentenced to Four-and-a-Half Years in Jail for Rape

However, they also outlined what had been proven and contributed to their conviction of Alves, adding:

“He tried to penetrate his victim by making use of his greater strength and throwing her on the floor and making her bang her knee.”

“The victim asked Dani Alves to let her leave, making it clear she wanted to get out of there, but he didn’t let her.”

“Finding herself in that situation, in that small toilet without any option of being able to leave because Mr Alves was preventing her with the violent attitude he was demonstrating, she felt shocked and unable to react or breathe properly given the situation of anguish and terror she was experiencing.”

“Using his physical strength and overcoming his victim’s opposition, Alves bent her over the toilet and raped his victim until he ejaculated inside her, without using a condom and without her consent.”

“It didn’t give him carte blanche to carry out the sex attack that occurred afterwards’, they insisted.”

“Consent during sex should always be given before or even during the practice of sex, in such a way that a person can agree to sexual relations up until a certain point and express their opposition to continue.”

David Saez, who appeared in court as part of the legal team representing the rape victim, stood in for her main defense lawyer, Ester Garcia: “We have to fully study the sentence but we are satisfied because it’s a conviction which recognises what we have always known which is the truth the victim was telling and the suffering she has experienced.”

Dani Alves Lawyer to Appeal

Ines Guardiola, Dani Alves’ lawyer, confirmed outside the court after the footballer was sentenced to jail that she would appeal.

She stated, “‘We are going to appeal the sentence and I still believe in the innocence of Mr Alves. He’s doing okay.”

“Obviously four-and-a-half years prison is better than nine years or 12 years and I have yet to read the full sentence but I will appeal.”

In addition to the prison term and the £128,000 (€150,000) damages payment, Alves was also given a five-year parole and a nine-and-a-half-year restraining order preventing him from contacting his victim or approaching her.

Alves, who became the oldest player to represent Brazil at the World Cup in December 2022 in Qatar, was ordered to stand trial last November.

Initially, it was reported that he had been accused of putting his hands down a woman’s underwear inside a toilet in the VIP area of the Sutton nightclub, but it later emerged that his victim was alleging rape.

He was dismissed by the Mexican side UNAM Pumas following his arrest in Barcelona at the beginning of last year, after he flew back to the Catalan capital to attend his mother-in-law’s funeral.

Despite making repeated bail requests after being remanded in jail, they were all denied, with judges noting that his victim’s version of events was coherent and highlighting that Alves had changed his story several times as the evidence against him emerged.

Alves initially claimed he had never met his female accuser before his arrest, but he backtracked on this statement after being detained.

In an exclusive interview from prison last June with a Spanish TV reporter, he stated, ‘The only person I have to ask for forgiveness is my wife.’

Police were called to Sutton nightclub shortly after Alves left with a male friend, following a report from his rape victim and two women she was with.

A friend of the victim who was with her on the night of the assault told the trial judges earlier this month that her friend was ‘crying uncontrollably’ after leaving the toilet and said that Alves had ‘really hurt her.’

Alves denied physically and sexually assaulting his victim during his trial, asserting, “I am not that type of man, I am not violent.”

His ex-wife, Tenerife-born model Joana Sanz, testified on his behalf and mentioned that he arrived home ‘very drunk.’ However, his alcohol consumption that night was not considered a mitigating factor.

Dani Alves Sentenced to Four-and-a-Half Years in Jail for Rape

In a letter that Joana posted online shortly before today’s sentencing and removed seconds later, Alves wrote, “I pray every day that the day comes when I can see you wake up.”

At the beginning of the year, prior to his conviction, his mother, Lucia Alves, caused controversy and potentially exposed herself to future prosecution by naming and posting a picture of her son’s victim on social media. She later removed the post.

She attended his trial, which took place from February 5 to 7, along with Alves’ brothers.

Spain’s second deputy PM, Yolanda Diaz, stated today, “I hope this prison sentence serves as an exemplary measure for all the sexist behavior women suffer in all areas.”

Neymar Jr Rescues Dani Alves

According to Brazilian outlet UOL, Neymar’s family, who have strong ties with Alves from their time together at Barcelona, PSG, and the Brazil national team, allegedly helped Alves pay the fine of €150,000 (£128,000)
ordered by the Spanish Court.

Neymar's family helped Dani Alves pay fine

The fine is intended to compensate the victim for moral damages and injuries caused by the assault, and it played a significant role in reducing Alves’ sentence.

Neymar’s family reportedly also provided legal assistance through Gustavo Xisto, a senior legal representative of Neymar’s father, to support Alves in the case.

Dani Alves, whose lawyer confirmed plans to appeal, maintained his innocence throughout the trial, claiming the sexual encounter with his accuser was consensual.

The time Alves spent in prison on remand will be factored into his overall sentence. In addition to prison time and the damages payment.

In addition to his two stints at Barcelona, Alves has also played for Sevilla, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, and Sao Paulo.

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest full-backs of all time.

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