Brazil defender Dani Alves was taken into custody on Friday in Spain over allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman at a Barcelona nightclub in December, police said.
The 39-year-old player was summoned to a Barcelona police station where he was “taken into custody” and will now be questioned by a judge, said a spokesperson for Catalonia’s regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra.
Spanish media said Alves arranged to be interview by police regarding the allegations through his lawyers.
Catalan police received a complaint on January 2 from a woman who said Alves had touched her inappropriately, police said.
The alleged sexual assault took place at a popular Barcelona nightclub overnight December 30-31, according to Spanish media reports.
Daily newspaper ABC said Alves allegedly put his hands inside the underwear of a woman without her consent while she was dancing with friends and then followed her into a toilet.
She is said to have informed security staff in the club, who activated Barcelona city council’s protocol against assaults and sexual harassment.
The player has confirmed he was at the nightclub at the time but has denied any wrongdoing, telling private Spanish television station Antena 3 earlier this month that he has “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 added.
His wife Joana Sanz told Antena 3 in an interview on January 9 that her husband had gone “out to dinner with friends, to disconnect a bit” on December 30.
“He went out to dance and try to enjoy music as likes, period. Nothing wrong happened…I know how respectful he is,” she added.
Alves, who now plays for Mexican side Pumas UNAM, was in Barcelona on holiday following his participation at the World Cup with Brazil in Qatar.
He was the oldest player to represent Brazil at the men’s World Cup.
A Barcelona court said earlier this month it had opened a probe “into an alleged crime of sexual assault as a result of a complaint filed by a woman against a footballer”.
In a phenomenally successful career, Alves made 408 appearances in total for Barcelona, with 391 of those coming in his first spell from 2008-2016.
During that initial stint, he won six La Liga titles, three Champions League crowns and four Copa del Rey trophies.
Alves had joined PSG in July 2017 on a free transfer after leaving Juventus and spent two years at the Qatari-owned French giants.
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