1708608462 Former Barcelona defender Dani Alves was sentenced to four and

Former Barcelona defender Dani Alves was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexual assault

Former Barcelona and Brazil full-back Dani Alves has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexual assault.

Alves, 40, was arrested by local police in January 2023 as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault at a Barcelona nightclub.

Spanish prosecutors alleged that Alves sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona on the night of December 30, 2022. He has repeatedly denied the allegations made against him.

Alves was found guilty Thursday morning. He was also sentenced to a further five years of supervised release following his release and has already paid €150,000 (£128,000, $163,000) plus legal fees to the victim.

Alves is not allowed to communicate with the victim or come within one kilometer of her for nine years and six months.

Spanish prosecutors had demanded a nine-year prison sentence for Alves.

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“The judgment assumes that it has been proven that the victim did not consent and that, in addition to the complainant's statement, there is other evidence suggesting that rape took place,” the court said in a statement .

Ines Guardiola, Alves' lawyer, said she would appeal the decision, adding: “I still believe in Mr Alves' innocence and we will defend her to the end.”

“He’s in one piece. Now we have to study the sentence in peace.”

1708608452 735 Former Barcelona defender Dani Alves was sentenced to four and

Hector Vivas/Getty Images

A member of the victim's prosecution team, David Saez, said: “We are not satisfied with the verdict.

“We have to weigh up whether the severity of the sentence is appropriate to the seriousness of the facts that have now been proven.”

Alves, who played 408 games for Barca and 126 games for Brazil over two terms, has been in custody since his arrest on January 20, 2023. Before his trial began on February 5, he had been held in a prison northwest of Barcelona.

At the start of the trial, five people testified: the alleged victim, her friend, her cousin, a waiter and a nightclub doorman. On the day the trial began, Alves' defense team requested that he be the last to testify and on the final day of the trial.

The following day, 21 witnesses took the stand. Among the most prominent people were Joana Sanz, Alves' wife, and Bruno Brasil, the friend who was with the footballer on the night in question.

Forensic, medical and psychological experts also testified on the final day of the trial, Wednesday, February 7. Alves spoke toward the end of the trial, invoking his right to be questioned only by his attorney and not the alleged victim's attorney.

Over the course of the investigation, Alves has presented different accounts of events. In an interview in June, he admitted to initially providing false information about the incident.

Alves initially denied claims of sexual penetration and claimed the woman performed oral sex on him. However, in his second statement to the investigating judge on April 17 last year, he admitted that although sexual penetration had occurred, it had been consensual. Alves admitted that he had lied in previous statements to save his marriage.

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(JORDI BORRAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)