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Spanish judge orders Dani Alves held without bail over sexual assault charge

Dani Alves, shown here playing for Brazil at the 2020 Olympics, is being held without bail in Spain after he was charged with sexual assault. (Andre Penner/AP)
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A judge in Barcelona ordered Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves held without bail after charging him with sexual assault over an incident that took place at a nightclub in December.

According to multiple reports, the alleged sexual assault took place the night of Dec. 30 or in the early morning of Dec. 31 in a bathroom at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona. The woman involved notified nightclub managers, and police took her to a hospital for a sexual assault examination. A few days later, the woman formally reported Alves to the police.

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Alves, who plays for Mexican club Pumas, denied the allegation in an interview with Spanish television channel Antena 3 this month.

“I would like to deny everything, first,” he said. “I was there, in that location, with more people, having a good time. Everybody knows that I love to dance. Having a good time, but without invading the space of others.

“I’m very sorry, but I don’t know who that young lady is. I don’t know who she is. I’ve never seen her in my life.”

Police brought Alves in for questioning Friday and both he and his accuser testified before a judge, who then agreed with prosecutors that Alves be held without bail.

Under legal reforms that took effect last year in Spain, any sexual act without consent can be considered assault. The charge of sexual assault covers a wide range of offenses, from unsolicited and unwanted groping to rape, according to the Associated Press.

Alves, 39, is one of the most decorated defenders in soccer history and helped Spanish club Barcelona to three Champions League titles. He also has played for Sevilla, Juventus and Paris St. Germain and was part of three World Cup teams for Brazil. At last year’s tournament in Qatar, Alves became the oldest player to ever see the field in a World Cup match for Brazil, though he did not play in either of its knockout-round matches (Brazil fell to Croatia in the quarterfinals Dec. 9).