Dani Alves' wife distraught as husband held on sexual assault charges

Dani Alves’ model wife says she’s lost ‘two pillars’ of her life after husband’s incarceration in Spain over sex assault claims and mother’s death – as Brazil star faces indefinite stint at brutal jail

  • Footballer Dani Alves’ wife distraught following her husband’s arrest on Friday
  • Alves protests his innocence after a 23-year-old accused him of sexual assault 
  • The former Barcelona defender was held at the Brians 1 prison in Catalonia

Dani Alves’ model wife, Joana Sanz, says she has lost the ‘two pillars’ of her life following her husband’s incarceration and her mother’s death.

The Brazil international was arrested on Friday 20 January in Barcelona after flying to Spain from Mexico following the death of his mother-in-law.

Alves, sacked by Mexican club Pumas after a Spanish judge investigated him for an alleged sexual assault, was remanded in custody.

The defender has been held on remand without bail pending trial and stayed at Brians 1 prison last night, a 35-minute drive north-west of the Catalan capital.

Former Barcelona right-back Dani Alves (R), 39, pictured with his wife Joana Sanz (L)

Court officials confirmed that Alves was in prison following his court appearance and said their probe into an alleged crime of sexual assault at iconic Barcelona nightclub Sutton late last month is continuing.

It was initially claimed 39-year-old Alves, who became the oldest Brazilian to play in a FIFA World Cup last month, had been accused of putting his hands down a woman’s underwear in a nightclub toilet.

But several Spanish papers are now reporting his alleged victim told the judge in court yesterday the footballer slapped her before raping her in the toilet. 

Officials have not commented on the reports and claims semen was found in the lavatory. 

Tenerife-born Joana Sanz had already shown she was backing her man ahead of his arrest and incarceration, saying on social media her husband had never shown her a lack of respect and claiming she had seen women ‘trying it on’ with Alves in front of her.

Hours before he was remanded in custody she posted a photo of them holding hands with the message ‘Together’ in English.

Overnight, 29-year-old Joana, who married Alves in Formentera off Ibiza in 2017, wrote: ‘I ask media who are outside my house to please respect my privacy at this moment.

‘My mother died a week ago and I have barely begun to take on board that she is no longer with me for me to be tormented with the situation of my husband.

‘I have lost the only two pillars in my life.’

Alves, who has denied any wrongdoing, will remain at Brians 1 for the foreseeable future as the judicial investigation continues.

Legal experts said last night they expected him to remain behind bars for anything between several weeks and several months.

Investigations of the sort currently being conducted by the investigating magistrate can take months and even years in some cases to complete, although when suspects are being held in jail they speed up their probes as much as possible.

People under formal investigation can be held in prison without charge for up to four years in Spain, although the normal limit is two years.

Formal charges in Spain are only laid when an investigating magistrate rules there is sufficient evidence for a trial to take place and subsequently invites prosecutors to submit an indictment.

Both the state prosecutor in this case and a lawyer acting for Alves’ female accuser demanded the footballer’s remand in custody during the behind-closed-doors court hearing yesterday.

Alves protested his innocence in a Spanish TV interview earlier this month after a Barcelona court confirmed it had opened a formal investigation, insisting: ‘I don’t know who this lady is. I don’t know her name, I don’t know her, I’ve never seen her in my life.’

He has admitted being at Sutton nightclub for a brief period of time the night the alleged sex crime happened. 

He is understood to have denied any wrongdoing during his police and court interviews on Friday.

Brians 1, a prison in Catalunya where Dani Alves is being detained without the right to bail

Brians 1: the gruesome prison where Alves is held 

Brians 1 is a prison outside of Barcelona used for suspects who are in preventive detention.

The prison was opened in 1991 and has been at the centre of a number of controversies.

The penitentiary is next to Brians 2, where eccentric tech guru John McAfee was found dead in his prison cell in June 2021. 

The former director of the Brians 1 prison, Joan Carles Navarro, left after reports from former and then-current prisoners told of torture by officials within the penitentiary.

Parlament de Catalunya sobre Departamentos Especial de Régimen Cerrado (DERT) heard that prisoners had been locked up for up to 21 hours a day in 2017 testimonies.

One inmate died by suicide after nine months kept in isolation, reportedly tied up on multiple occasions. 

Two prison officials were convicted for ill-treatment of an inmate in September 2017.

Navarro was replaced by director Josep Font which prisoner rights body, the Observatory of the Penal System and Human Rights, hoped would ‘restore normality’ to the prison.

However, Font resigned in late 2018 after 15 months after allegedly receiving death threats and under pressure from staff, who called the situation at Brians 1 ‘absolutely unsustainable’, with staff allegedly mistreated and inmates reportedly mixed with criminals convicted of sexual crimes.

While the Minister of Justice highlighted the good work done by font to have ‘humanitarian prison services’, a report published in February 2020 documented ‘a number of allegations of physical ill-treatment by prison officers’ at Brians 1 in September 2018, including ‘slaps, punches and blows with truncheons to various parts of the body’.

The report verified claims that prisoners of all types were held together regardless of the needs and challenges they posed, adding to ‘a sense of insecurity and fear’.

Director Font was replaced by former Brians 2 director and psychologist Gemma Torres in January 2019. 

Neighbouring Brians 2 is where eccentric tech guru John McAfee was found dead in his prison cell in June 2021.

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell was also once held at the prison.

Brians 1 and 2 are known as the Catalan jails for ‘famous people.’

Dani Alves played for Barcelona football club between 2008 and 2016, and again in 2021-22

The end of a star-studded career for Brazil right back? 

Confirming Alves’ sacking, Pumas president Leopoldo Silva said: ‘With the information about the legal case footballer Dani Alves is facing which has resulted in his arrest in Spain, we can confirm that this club has decided to terminate his employment contract with just cause.’

Alves left former club Barcelona during the summer to sign for UNAM Pumas.

The right back played for Barcelona from 2008-2016 and briefly returned to the LaLiga team for the 2021-22 season. 

As well as two spells at Barcelona, Alves has played for Seville, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Sao Paulo.

He is widely considered as one of the greatest full-backs of all time.

He has been a full international for Brazil since 2006 and is the nation’s second most-capped player of all time, making 126 appearances and scoring eight goals.

Alves became the oldest Brazilian to play in a FIFA World Cup by playing in his nation’s defeat against Cameroon in the final round of Group G games.

He said before the game: ‘It’s normal people might question me because of my age or because I might not be at my best at this minute.

‘It is something that bothers me but doesn’t affect me. I am reaping what I have planted over the years.’

The 39-year-old’s contract with the Liga MX side was due to expire in July 2023.

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