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This Friday, Dani Alves was arrested and entered provisional prison without bail accused of raping a woman last December in a Barcelona nightclub.
A regular at nightclubs in the Catalan capital, the soccer player asked some journalist friends for a favor on one of those nights out: “Don’t expose me, no photos.” It happened in the time of Luis Enrique as coach of Barça, still at the peak of his career. At that time, he was also injured, for which reason he was supposed to be resting. And his colleagues fulfilled that pact.
The Brazilian has never hidden his taste for nightlife. Eccentric when it comes to choosing his wardrobe, he always seeks to be the center of attention. He did it at the barbecues that were organized in Barcelona with the group led by Lionel Messi and company —he was in charge of the music—, also with those closest to him. “If we were in a disco and an aunt approached him, he would say yes, but on the condition that he bring friends for his friends,” says one of his colleagues in the Catalan capital.
The Brazilian footballer “liked to party”, says a Barcelona employee, who adds that he arrived at training the next day, without having rested, and “he never noticed tiredness”. The defender, friendly to the press, has always boasted of a super professional life: a pioneer footballer in taking care of his diet, as well as in building a gym at his home to exercise outside the routine of his clubs. His statistics back it up. At 39, he was part of Brazil’s squad in the last World Cup and no one has more titles than him: 42, followed by Lionel Messi, who has 41 after being crowned in Qatar 2022.
Son of marginality, the Brazilian returns from time to time to his old house in a tough neighborhood on the outskirts of Bahia. In 2017, he posted a photo of the bed he used to sleep in as a child. “Life is hard for those who are soft. Returning here serves to purify my happiness. I do not need money or applause, only health, a good bed, a decent mattress and a lot of willpower, ”he wrote. Alves, however, supported former President Jair Bolsonaro in the last elections in Brazil. “There is a catchphrase that I love,” he noted. And he released Bolsonaro’s usual phrase: “Brazil above all, God above all.” He was not the only Brazilian soccer player who supported Bolsonaro, also, for example, his friend Neymar did.
In the midst of the controversies that have dragged on, Alves championed the fight against racism on more than one occasion. Sometimes in a more vehement way – “Europe is full of racists”, he said in 2022 -; others, more ironic. In 2014, at the Madrigal, the former Villarreal field, a banana was thrown at him. Alves caught it and ate it before taking a corner kick. “You have to laugh at these latecomers,” he commented after the duel against the yellow team.
His personality, at times vindictive, other times shameless, played him the occasional trick. In 2012, in a match in which Guardiola’s Barcelona thrashed Rayo, Alves began to dance with Thiago to celebrate the fifth goal. Carles Puyol, then captain, cut the celebration short. “These are not acts of Barcelona players, we apologize,” Guardiola said after the match.
Although he is considered the best right-back in the history of Barça together with the Uruguayan Benítez, despite the fact that he is seen as someone fun and professional, he has also been controversial. Now, he has gone far beyond controversy. What he did in the bathroom of an elitist club in the upper area of Barcelona in one of his last night outings has left him in pretrial detention without bail, accused of rape.
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