Who is Dani Alves, Brazil football icon accused of sexual assault? He was part of Messi-led Barcelona golden generation

The highly decorated footballer is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a nightclub in Barcelona on New Years’ eve, December 31, 2022.

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The news of former Brazil and FC Barcelona star Dani Alves’ arrest for alleged sexual assault shook the footballing world on Friday. Police arrested 39-year-old Alves in Spain after shocking allegations surfaced against him. The decorated footballer is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a nightclub in Barcelona on New Years’ eve, December 31, 2022.

Dani Alves was one of the best right-backs of his time. He had one of the most successful careers in men’s football. Alves won every major title at club level with Barcelona, where he had his longest stint, filled with success alongside football great Lionel Messi.

He was part of Barcelona’s golden generation alongside Lionel Messi. Alves formed the core group of players at Barcelona with Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique. He had successful stints at Juventus in Italy and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in France after leaving Barcelona. Alves currently plays for Club Universidad Nacional in Mexico, commonly referred to as UNAM or Pumas. 

Alves will now go before a judge after his arrest who will decide on the charges against the footballer. In Spain where Alves is arrested, sexual assault charge has wide ranging meaning from unsolicited and unwanted sexual groping to rape. No detail on the case has been released by the police.

Alves has one 46 trophies in his senior footballing career. These include Spain’s La Liga and Copa del Ray, UEFA Champions League titles, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. After Barcelona, he won Serie A and Coppa Italia in Italy and then domestic treble with PSG. In 2021, he made a surprise return to Barcelona. 

At international level, he has featured for Brazil at three FIFA World Cups and five Copa América tournaments. He won the Copa America twice in 2007 and 2019 when he was the Best Player of the tournament. 

Alves was born to a farmer in Juazeiro in Brazil’s Bahia state. He started out as a winger at 6 but was repositioned by his father as a full-back, a position where he excelled globally. In his younger days, Dani worked as a trader and farmer. 

He once offered to donate his liver to Barcelona teammate Eric Abidal who was undergoing cancer treatment. Alves has been a target of racism when a Villarreal supporter threw a banana at him in 2014. Alves picked it up, peeled it and took a bite of the fruit.

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