The rape trial of former Brazil football star Dani Alves has heard that 'his victim's life had been ruined', and the attack had 'left her crying uncontrollably' as she confided in a friend that he had 'really hurt' her in a Barcelona nightclub bathroom.
The victim, who claims she was raped by the 40-year-old former footballer in a VIP section of the at the Sutton nightclub in the early hours of December 31, 2022, testified for over an hour on the first day of the footballer's trial in Barcelona.
The woman, whose identity is protected, gave evidence from behind a screen, with court sources saying this was to avoid her being 'visually confronted' by Alves who listened in the court in a white shirt and jeans.
The victim's testimony was only seen by the judge, her face was pixellated and her voice modified to avoid her identity being exposed in case any footage was leaked.
Testifying in court, her friend confirmed her account, saying Alves had a very 'touchy-feely attitude' and had been 'even more obsessive' with the victim.
Former Barcelona right back Dani Alves attends his trial in Barcelona on February 5, 2024
Breaking down in tears, the friend recalled how the victim was 'crying uncontrollably' after leaving the bathroom, asking to leave immediately and saying Alves had 'really hurt' her.
After receiving medical attention that night, the woman filed a complaint on January 2 but the prosecution said she now suffers from 'heightened post-traumatic stress'.
'She can't sleep, she takes medication.. and has started taking anti-depressants,' her cousin told the court, saying she 'barely leaves the house' since the attack.
The Brazil international, 40, was driven to court in a police van from Brians 2 Prison near the Catalan capital, where he has been held on remand for over a year.
His alleged victim testified shortly after the start of the three-day trial in the only part of the public hearing scheduled to be held behind closed doors.
It emerged early on today Alves had secured permission to take the stand on the last day after the 28 witnesses including his female accuser and his model wife Joana Sanz testify.
Before proceedings got underway, around half an hour after the scheduled 10am local time start, Spanish press reported negotiations about a possible plea bargain deal which would have seen Alves admit to wrongdoing in return for a four-year prison sentence had taken place.
But just before 10.30am Alves was escorted into the courtroom at Barcelona's Audiencia Provincial from a basement cell after it was confirmed the long-awaited trial - which is expected to last three days - would go ahead.
The Brazilian talent faces 15 years in prison if found guilty during a trial expected to last three days
Dona Lucia, mother of Dani Alves, and his brothers arrived at the court before the hearing today
State prosecutors have said they wanted him jailed for nine years if convicted of raping a 23-year-old woman in a toilet at Barcelona's upmarket Sutton nightclub on December 30, 2022.
A lawyer acting for Alves' female accuser, who is prosecuting the father-of-two on her behalf, has called for him to face the maximum 12-year prison sentence if he is found guilty.
Both prosecutors are also seeking a compensation payment of £128,000.
The former Barcelona defender has denied wrongdoing but admitted to having cheated on his wife with his accuser, insisting sex was consensual.
The three judges, who are sitting without a jury - as is normal in Spain for sex crime cases - have around a fortnight to return their verdict once the trial ends and will announce their decision in a written ruling.
Alves, who can opt to take the stand on the last day, has insisted he had consensual sex with the woman who has accused him of forcing himself on her.
After seeing bail refused last June, Alves told Cuatro programme 'En Boca de todos': 'It will be proven that I am not guilty and it was a consensual relationship. It would never cross my mind to impose a sexual act on anyone.'
His accuser has been given permission to testify behind closed doors.
The family of Dani Alves speak to an official outside the Barcelona court on February 5, 2024
Media gather ahead of Dani Alves' trial for alleged sexual assault at Barcelona Court today
Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves sits on the dock during his trial for alleged sexual assault at Barcelona's Court in Barcelona, Spain, February 5
Her cousin and a female friend who were with her the night of the alleged sex attack are among the witnesses called to give evidence along with waiters in the VIP area of Sutton's where Alves met the woman whose accusations ended with his arrest and incarceration ahead of today's trial.
Alves' wife Joana Sanz will testify on behalf of the footballer following his pre-trial public apology to the model for 'cheating on her' with the woman who claims he raped her.
She is expected to be asked whether he was drunk the night of the sex attack, as he now claims, which in the case of a guilty verdict could serve as a mitigating factor under Spanish law.
Six witnesses were due to be heard on the first day of the public hearing.
Alves, who became the oldest player to represent Brazil at the World Cup in December 2022 in Qatar, was ordered to stand trial last November.
Initially it was reported Alves had been accused of putting his hands down a woman's underwear inside a toilet in the VIP area of Sutton nightclub before it emerged his alleged victim was saying she had been raped.
According to the prosecution, Alves - who was on holiday in Barcelona at the time after playing for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar - offered champagne to the young woman and her friend.
Alves then allegedly invited the woman to enter a small enclosure at the nightclub, which she says she did not know was a lavatory.
Once inside the footballer showed a 'violent attitude' and forced her to have intercourse despite her resistance, prosecutors say according to the indictment.
'The victim asked him several times to let her go, saying she wanted to leave but the defendant prevented her from doing so,' according to the indictment, which describes a 'situation of anguish and terror' for the young woman.
The woman, who received medical treatment after leaving the nightclub, is being treated for post-traumatic stress, according to prosecutors. Her identity has never been revealed.
Alves' legal team lost a battle to keep the trial behind closed doors, though media and the public will not be present when the accuser takes the stand.
He was sacked by Mexican side UNAM Pumas following his arrest in Barcelona at the start of last year after he flew back to the Catalan capital to attend his mother-in-law's funeral.
Alves has made repeated bail requests but they have all been turned down, with judges saying his alleged victim's version of events was coherent and pointing out the defendant had changed his story several times as the evidence authorities have against him has emerged.
Alves is expected to arrive at court around 10am local time (9am GMT). Pictured: family arrive
Dani Alves is pictured with his wife, the model Joana Sanz, in a post shared on Instagram
Alves claimed before his arrest he had never met his female accuser but ended up backtracking after being held.
In an exclusive interview from his cell in Brians 2 Prison near Barcelona last June with Spanish TV and newspaper reporter Mayka Navarro, he claimed: 'The only person I have to ask for forgiveness is my wife, Joana Sanz.'
There are said to be several indications that corroborate the victim's claims and deny the explanations put forward by Alves to date.
Police found seven fingerprints of the victim in the cistern and also in the sink.
Footprints are also thought to have suggested a series of movements at the scene that matches the two statements given by the accuser.
As well as two spells at Barcelona, Alves has played for Seville, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Sao Paulo.
The former footballer is widely considered as one of the greatest defenders of all time, winning 42 trophies during a highly successful career including three Champions League wins with Barcelona and two Copa Americas with Brazil.
Cristobal Martell (L), defence lawyer for Dani Alves, attends a hearing to decide on the appeal against his client's detention without bail at the Barcelona Audience court, 9 June 2023
The former Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain defender has been held at Brians 2
Dani Alves speaks at a press conference during the Qatar World Cup on December 1, 2022
Alves could face 15 years in prison if found guilty at the trial expected to last three days
Alves became the oldest player to represent Brazil in a FIFA World Cup by playing in his nation's defeat against Cameroon in the final round of Group G games in December 2022.
He famously played for Barcelona from 2008-2016 and briefly returned to the LaLiga team for the 2021-22 season.
At the start of the year his mum Lucia Alves caused controversy and left herself open to future prosecution by naming and picturing her son's rape accuser in a social media post she has now removed. She is at his trial along with Alves' brothers.
Spanish state prosecutors accused the footballer of slapping his alleged victim round the face before raping her in a pre-trial indictment released to the press.
They also claimed he left his female accuser feeling 'anguish and terror' after locking her in the toilet at Sutton, groping her and trying to make her to perform a sex act on him before consummating the rape without putting on a condom.
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