Former Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves emotionally testified in the Barcelona High Court, claiming consensual sexual relations with the accuser. Amidst a storm of media attention, Alves is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in a Barcelona nightclub, an allegation he has consistently refuted, even after admitting to lying in initial statements to protect his marriage.
Dani Alves’ Defense: Consensual Relations
Brazil’s former Barcelona player Dani Alves insisted before the Barcelona High Court that he had consensual sexual relations with the young woman who accuses him of raping her in the bathroom of Sutton nightclub in Barcelona, stating she never told him to stop at any moment.
Alves, for whom the prosecution is seeking nine years in prison for a sexual assault offense, refused to respond to the public prosecutor and the private accusation made by the victim, only answering questions from his defense during a hearing in which he ended up breaking down in tears.
The prosecution, for its part, fully believes the victim’s account, describing it as “persistent, totally credible, and tough,” and the “situation of terror” she claims to have suffered “from the first moment” she made it clear she wanted to leave the bathroom.
Mutual Attraction and Consent
According to the footballer, who stuck to the last version he maintained before the presiding judge after the results of the biological tests were known, his sexual relationship with the young woman was mutual because they both felt “attraction.” Therefore, when he learned from the press days later that he was being accused of sexual assault, it felt like “the world was collapsing on him.”
In an interrogation that lasted barely fifteen minutes, the former Barça player detailed that on December 30, 2022, when the events occurred, he was dining with some friends at a restaurant in Barcelona, where they drank five bottles of wine and a Japanese whisky, after which they moved to a bar to continue with “a round of gin and tonics” before entering Sutton nightclub.
At 2:30 in the morning, he arrived with one of his friends at Sutton – a nightclub where he is a regular customer -and they were led to a private area of the venue, where they spent time with two girls until they decided to invite the victim and her two friends to their table.
Contrary to the young women’s account, who maintain that Alves had a “sleazy” attitude with them from the introductions, touching them, the accused explained that they were talking and dancing. He approached them because he is a “very close, but always respectful” person.
With the young woman accusing him of rape, he said, he danced “closer,” even grinding, but always “having a good time, enjoying,” insisting that at no moment did she refuse to get intimate with him.
“I thought there was sexual attraction,” the footballer pointed out, claiming he suggested to the young woman they lock themselves in the bathroom to have sex, which she agreed to; he maintains: “I didn’t have to insist at all.”
Once in the bathroom, Dani Alves detailed, the young woman kissed him and performed oral sex, after which he penetrated her, and he assured her that both were “enjoying it.”
“At no time did she tell me she wanted to leave; if she wanted to leave, she could have; she wasn’t forced,” the footballer emphasized after declaring he is not “a violent man.”
Changing Narratives: Four Versions of the Episode
Since his arrest on January 20 last year, Alves has offered four versions of this episode: first, he maintained he did not know the victim, later admitted he coincided with the young woman in the nightclub’s bathroom, but nothing happened between them, and finally, when the judge confronted his explanations with the biological tests, he maintained the girl had performed oral sex on him, consensually.
When the results of the tests that found Alves’ semen traces in the victim’s intimate parts were made known, the footballer testified again and admitted for the first time that he had consensual vaginal sexual relations with the young woman.
Responding to questions from his lawyer, Inés Guardiola, the accused stated that his account today is the same as the one he maintained during the case’s investigation and only acknowledged that the first time he testified before the presiding judge, he omitted some details: “I spoke of fellatio because I thought it was the only thing my wife could forgive me for.”
Dani Alves broke into sobs when recalling the moment he learned he had been accused of rape, a charge he claims has left him “practically ruined,” as all his football and advertising contracts were blocked as a result of the case.
After spending 381 days in pre-trial detention following his arrest for an alleged sexual assault—a claim he denies—Alves first appeared at the court early on a Monday morning. The court’s entrances were besieged by media, dubbing this “the trial of the year” in Spain. Alves entered the premises in a police van through a rear entrance, avoiding the media frenzy.
The alleged victim testified behind closed doors, shielded by screens and with a distorted voice to protect her identity, alongside her friend, cousin, and two nightclub employees, all of whom were present on the night in question, December 30, 2022.
Alves’ trial saw the testimony of the first five out of 28 witnesses over three days. Alves’ testimony was postponed until yesterday.
Guardiola argued for Alves’ fundamental rights and a fair trial, contending that a “parallel trial” in the media had prejudiced public opinion against him. She cited over 450 articles depicting Alves negatively and contested the adequacy of his legal representation upon arrest. The court decided Alves would testify last but rejected the motion to annul the trial.
Alves’ Testimony and Expert Evidence
The alleged victim’s testimony, kept confidential from the press, lasted over an hour. Alves’ mother, Lucia Alves, was present in court, expressing her son’s strength despite not testifying after previously leaking the alleged victim’s identity. The victim’s friend and cousin corroborated her account, describing a night that began with dinner and drinks and ended in trauma. They recounted how they were invited to join Alves at his table in the nightclub, describing his behavior as inappropriate.
The trial continued with testimonies from the nightclub’s staff, including servers and the doorman, who supported the women’s accounts. The following day promised testimonies from 22 individuals, including Alves’ wife and his friend present that night, as the trial against Alves unfolded, challenging his denial of the charges.
Yesterday was a significant day as Dani Alves will speak, being the last person to do so. In addition, expert evidence and final reports will be presented, and the conclusions of a case with a significant media impact will be established.
The Barcelona High Court has a maximum of 20 days to decide, a period in which they will have to issue a sentence. Depending on how events unfold, Dani Alves could remain in prison for several more years for the alleged sexual offense he is accused of committing. Therefore, the resolution will be between February 26 to March 3.