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Dani Alves is awaiting trial in early February 2024 over sexual assault allegations dating back to January of this year, which resulted in his arrest by local police in Barcelona. The 40-year-old former Barca player and 126-cap Brazil international is currently in prison in Catalonia and has not played since Pumas UNAM in Mexico terminated his contract after his arrest. Alves denies the allegations but has also changed his stance on the events and even admitted to initially "lying" to investigators. If found guilty, Alves could go to prison for at least nine years.

What is Alves accused of?

After being eliminated from the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar with Brazil, Alves returned to Spain with his wife Joana Sanz and spent time in the Canary Islands before leaving for Barcelona on December 30. New Year was to be spent there before returning to Mexico to rejoin Pumas and Spanish media reports and Alves' interview with La Vanguardia say he arrived in Barcelona, met a friend for dinner, ate and then went to Sutton nightclub. This is where the alleged sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman took place in the early hours after Alves bought the alleged victim and her cousin champagne -- security footage published by Diari Ara shows the incident.  The woman alleges that the South American later forced her into nonconsensual sexual intercourse. Sutton staff initiated the venue's 'sexual assault protocol' which was confirmed by Diari Ara's security camera images and the alleged victim was later taken to hospital because of injuries to her left knee.

What is Alves' position?

Alves sent a video message to Spanish TV station Antena 3 saying: "I was in that place (Sutton), I was with more people enjoying it. Everyone who knows me knows I like to dance. Enjoying, but without invading the space of others. I have never invaded someone's space without permission. How am I going to do it with a woman, or with whatever girl she is? No, for God's sake. I'm very sorry, but I don't know who that lady is. I don't know her name, I don't know her. I never saw her in my life. Enough is enough because they are doing harm, especially to my people."

When did Alves last play?

Alves was in action for Pumas on January 8 and his legal representative contacted Catalan police (Mossos d'Esquadra) three days later. Five days after that, so January 16, he returned to Barcelona with the Mexican club's permission and four days later he was arrested. It was at this point that Pumas stepped in and terminated Alves' contract.

"We cannot allow a person's behavior to harm our work philosophy." Club president Leopoldo Silva later added that, "the club reiterates its commitment to not tolerate acts, by any member of the institution, whoever they may be, that violate the university spirit and its values."

What has happened since?

The alleged victim has refused any and all attempts at financial compensation and Alves' account of events to the investigating judge was found to contradict what he himself had sent Antena 3 earlier. At this point, Alves was held in custody and denied freedom of movement as he was considered a flight risk owing to a lack of extradition agreement between Brazil and Spain. Alves has since testified, in April and then June, both with altered stories.

Where does the case stand?

Alves has been in jail for 11 months now and has had multiple bail requests denied. The trial was confirmed in mid-November although the date has only just been fixed over one month later. The trial will now take place from February 5 to 7 and Alves is facing a nine-year prison sentence from the public prosecutors on top of $162,000 in damages to the alleged victim. Her defense team is seeking a 12-year jail term.