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Dani Alves set to go on trial for rape in February

Former Brazil football star Dani Alves will go on trial in Spain for allegedly raping a woman at a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022 between February 5-7, a Spanish court said Wednesday.

Prosecutors are seeking a nine-year jail term for the former Barcelona full-back, who has been in jail in Spain since his arrest in January, and demanded he pay his alleged victim 150,000 euros ($163,500) in compensation

The 40-year-old has maintained he had consensual sex with his accuser.

“I have a really clear conscience regarding what happened that night in the bathroom of the VIP area of the Sutton nightclub,” he told Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia in an interview published in June, his first since his arrest.

“What happened and what didn’t happen. And what didn’t happen is that I forced this woman to do anything that we did,” he added.

But when the story first broke — and before he was arrested — Alves in a television interview initially denied knowing the woman who filed a police complaint against him on January 2.

“I was dancing and having a good time without invading anyone’s space,” he told Spanish TV channel Antena 3

“I don’t know who this lady is. How could I do that to a woman? No.”

Alves told La Vanguardia that he had lied at first because he was afraid his wife would leave him if he admitted he had been with another woman.

The high-profile trial will take place in Barcelona, the court which has led the investigation into the affair said in a statement.

Prosecutors allege Alves invited the woman to enter a small enclosure at the upscale Sutton nightclub, which she says she did not know was a lavatory.

Once inside, the footballer showed a “violent attitude” towards the woman, who he forced to have intercourse despite her resistance, prosecutors say according to the indictment.

Under Spain’s sexual consent law passed last year, the charge of sexual assault takes in a wide array of crimes from online abuse and groping to rape, each with different possible punishments. A case of rape can carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.

At the time of the incident, Alves was on holiday in Barcelona after playing for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar.

After his arrest, Alves was sacked by his Mexican club Pumas UNAM.

In a highly successful career, Alves won 42 trophies, including three Champions Leagues with Barcelona and two Copa Americas with Brazil.

At last year’s World Cup finals in Qatar he became the oldest player to represent Brazil at football’s showpiece tournament.

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