Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves, who has been in jail without bail since January 20 on sexual assault charges, appeared before a judge on Monday and admitted to having consensual sex with the woman who accused him, changing his previous denial.
In a statement released by his lawyers, Alves said, "He assured he didn't initially tell what had happened and denied the sexual contact because his only priority was to save his marriage."
Alves further stated to the judge that there was immediate interest and sexual tension between him and the accuser and that the encounter in a restroom at an exclusive Barcelona nightclub was a "free and voluntary act. They made love and (she) didn't say at any time to stop," the statement added.
This revelation comes as a departure from Alves's earlier claim of no sexual encounter with the accuser. In a video sent to local TV channel Antena 3 two weeks before his arrest in January, Alves had said, "I did not know who the woman was."
The case has garnered significant attention in Spain, not only due to Alves's prominence as a soccer player who has played for FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain but also because of the country's heightened awareness of sexual assault following a 2016 gang-rape case during the San Fermin bull-running festival that led to stricter sexual violence laws.
Alves's arrest has had personal repercussions as well, with him being fired by Mexico's Pumas UNAM and his wife, model Joana Sanz, leaving him.
The spokesperson for the Barcelona court declined to comment, and there has been no response from the lawyer representing the alleged victim or the prosecutor's body. The case continues to unfold as new information emerges.