FORMER Barcelona and Brazil footballer Dani Alves has denied raping a young woman in an exclusive Spanish nightclub after testifying on the final day of his trial.
Alves, who won the UEFA Champions League three times with the Catalan giants, was visibly emotional as he told the court that the woman, 23, “never told me to stop” during their encounter at the VIP Sutton nightclub in Barcelona.
The 40-year old insisted that he is “not a violent man”, and that sex with the woman had been consensual.
His accuser had previously told the Spanish court that Alves had lured her into a toilet in the nightclub in the early hours of December 31 2022, before allegedly raping her despite her requests to be let go.
Prosecutors are calling for a nine-year prison sentence and financial compensation of €150,000.
Prior to Alves taking to the stand, a psychologist who treated the woman after the alleged rape testified that they had found “no indication” that she was inventing or exaggerating the story, and that she showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, experts called by the defence suggested that her anxiety could have been caused by the intense press focus on the case.
A friend and cousin of the woman, who has remained anonymous throughout the proceedings after her identity was leaked online, alongside police officers who arrived at the scene, testified that the victim had been in a state of “shock” after fleeing the bathroom.
According to the friend, the young woman was “crying uncontrollably” after leaving the bathroom, saying that the footballer had “really hurt her”.
Alves has denied being violent towards the woman.
A friend of Alves told the court that he had consumed a large quantity of alcohol, including whiskey, before arriving at the nightclub.
The friend also said that Alves and the woman had shown “chemistry” before going to the bathroom.
Alves’ wife, Joana Sanz, 31, said that he had appeared very drunk when arriving home, bumping into furniture before collapsing onto the bed.
The footballer’s defence team hope that his alleged drunken state will be taken into account if he is found guilty.
Alves, widely considered as one of the greatest right-backs in history, has been in prison without bail since his arrest in January 2023.
Mexican side Pumas UNAM, for whom Mr Alves played at the time, terminated his contract with immediate effect following his arrest.
The Brazilian’s trial represents Spain’s first high-profile sex case since an overhaul of legislation in 2022 which saw consent re-defined as an explicit expression of a person’s will following the infamous ‘La Manada’ gang-rape case in Pamplona in 2016.
Mr Alves modified his defence whilst in custody, firstly denying any knowledge of his accuser, before admitting to sexual relations that he insisted were consensual.
He said that he had been trying to save his marriage by initially denying that he knew the alleged victim.
Throughout his prestigious footballing career, Alves won titles with Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, alongside international honours with his native Brazil.
A verdict for his trial will be delivered in the coming weeks.
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