Brazilian defender Dani Alves was arrested on Friday and later denied bail by a Barcelona judge amid allegations he sexually assaulted a woman.
He had answered a police summons for questioning by the judge earlier in the day. The judge later agreed to prosecutors’ requests that he remain in custody without bail.
The court said in a statement he had been questioned about “events that allegedly took place in a nightclub.”
The allegations stem from the night of December 30-31, 2022, and had been fairly broadly reported in Spanish media.
A woman told nightclub security staff, and then police, that Alves had touched her inappropriately under her underwear in the club. She filed a criminal complaint with Catalan police on January 2.
Alves later appeared on television station Antena 3 saying he had “never seen” the woman before.
“I was there, at that place, with more people having fun. Everybody knows I love to dance. Having a good time but without invading the space of others,” the former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain player said.
His wife, Joana Sanz, spoke to the same channel in his defense but said her husband had been out with friends that night.
Alves and his representatives did not immediately comment publicly on Friday.
Although Alves, 39, now plays in Mexico with the Pumas UNAM club, he has close personal ties to Barcelona, having spent some of the most successful years of his career there.
He was part of the club’s golden era, fueled in no small part by Lionel Messi’s prolific scoring and Pep Guardiola’s coaching for some of the period, between 2008 and 2016. During his first stint with the Catalan club in his prime he made 391 appearances, and another 17 on returning there last season.
The 39-year-old was also the oldest player to represent Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar earlier last December. He was on holiday in Barcelona following that competition.
Alves also has a reputation as one of the game’s more extrovert and charismatic players. He attracted widespread attention and praise in 2014 when he calmly responded to racist fans throwing a banana in his direction during a game by picking it up and eating it.
Mexico’s top-flight football division, Liga MX, said it was following the case and Alves’ legal situation alongside his club Pumas UNAM, to determine “what is appropriate regarding his participation in the League.”
Pumas UNAM said it would “take appropriate actions,” and apply sanctions as “stipulated in the employment contract signed with the athlete.”
It said it would make its decision public as soon as possible.
msh/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)