Dani Alves has changed his version of events about an alleged nightclub sexual assault to cover up his “infidelity”, his new lawyer has reportedly claimed.
A Spanish TV current affairs programme said Cristobal Martell made the admission off-camera after visiting the footballer in Brians 2 Prison near Barcelona on Friday.
TVE programme ‘Hablando Claro’ published images of Mr Martell leaving the jail after a two-hour visit.
Reporter Dani Gonzalez, who had been dispatched to the prison, told a studio presenter: “A few minutes ago Dani Alves’ lawyer Cristobal Martell left the prison after a meeting with his client.
“They spent two hours talking. He told us off-camera, because he didn’t want to make an official comment, that the footballer is calm.
“Another of the important things he told us is that Dani Alves gave his initial version of events when he was shock and changed his version of events afterwards to protect his wife because he didn’t want her to find out about the infidelity he had committed.”
The 39-year-old Brazil international, who enjoyed two spells at Barcelona before signing for Mexican side UNAM Pumas last year, claimed before his arrest last Friday that he had never met his female accuser.
He is said to have admitted to sex with her when he was questioned by a judge after his detention on suspicion of sexual assault.
The alleged inconsistencies in his statements have been linked to witness testimonies and CCTV footage showing the pair entering the toilet at iconic Barcelona nightclub Sutton where the 23-year-old woman claims she was raped.
Alves changed lawyers and hired Mr Martell, whom former teammate Lionel Messi has used in the past in his tax fraud case, after reports of the changes in his version of events started to emerge.
Alves’ Tenerife-born model wife Joana Sanz, who supported her husband after he was first linked to the alleged nightclub assault, has removed nearly all the photos of them together from her Instagram. The few pictures of them that remain are linked to advertising campaigns.
The couple married in Formentera off Ibiza in 2017.
I have lost the only two pillars in my life
Following the footballer’s arrest, Sanz- whom Alves had accompanied back to Spain from Mexico after her mother died - wrote in a social media message: “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.”
Hours before Alves was remanded in custody and before reports that he was now admitting to sex with his accuser but claiming it was consensual started surfacing, Sanz posted a photo of them holding hands with the caption ‘Together’.
Alves’ ex-wife has been outspoken in her defence of the player, who was sacked by UNAM Pumas after his arrest.
Dana Dinorah said earlier this week: “I’m still in shock. It seems like it’s a nightmare and it’s not happening.”
Insisting she believed that the father of their two children is innocent, the Brazilian-based businesswoman said in an interview with a Spanish TV programme: “Dani would never ever, ever do this.
“I say this because I’ve known him for 22 years and was married to him for 10.
“This has been a shock for me and for my children. I have two teenage children who are suffering.”
Initially it was reported that Alves had been accused of putting his hands down his accuser’s underwear in the nightclub before it emerged the woman alleged she was slapped and raped in a toilet.
Court officials have confirmed Alves is under investigation on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman, but have not confirmed the exact nature of the allegations against him.
His new lawyer is expected to submit a bail application shortly and argue the footballer is not a flight risk.
Even if he is released from prison in the next few weeks, he is expected to be required to remain in Spain and have his passport taken from him while the criminal investigation continues.
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 and a lawyer acting for Alves’ accuser are expected to oppose any bail application from his lawyer.
The final decision on a conditional release would be taken by a higher court and not the one that is currently investigating the footballer.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.