Barca icon Dani Alves facing nine years in prison as prosecutor delivers verdict

Barcelona legend Dani Alves could be jailed for up to nine years if the prosecution in his sexual assault trial gets its way.

The former Brazil international, 40, is accused of raping a young woman in a Barcelona nightclub on December 30, 2022, and was arrested in January after turning himself in. In addition to requesting a nine-year prison sentence for the defendant, the prosecution has requested compensation of โ‚ฌ150,000 (ยฃ130,000) for the complainant.

Alves has been in prison without bail since handing himself in 10 months ago. He has denied any wrongdoing and insists the sex was consensual.

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In Spain, a claim of rape is investigated under the general accusation of sexual assault and convictions typically lead to prison terms of between four and 15 years. Last week, a Barcelona court ruled there was sufficient grounds for him to stand trial following requests by the public prosecutor, as well as the complainant's lawyer.

"The statements of the alleged victim and the witnesses statements and experts' reports that appear in the case must be considered as sufficient for this purpose, without prejudice to the final outcome following the plenary phase," the court said in a statement.

Alves initially denied having sex with the complainant, before changing his story and admitting to having consensual sex with her. He later claimed the reason for his initial denial was part of an attempt to hide his infidelity from his wife, Joana Sanz, who he has since separated from.

The former right-back is the joint-most decorated footballer of all time alongside former team-mate Lionel Messi, with 44 trophies won. He played 408 times for Barcelona, winning six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues across two spells. He also played for Sevilla, Juventus, PSG and Sao Paolo, and earned 126 caps for Brazil.

Alves' most recent club, Mexican side Pumas UNAM, terminated his contract with immediate effect when the sex assault allegations came to light in January.

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