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Dani Alves’ Storied Career Ends in Disgrace: Four and a Half Years Behind Bars

The career of Dani Alves, the man with the record for the most trophies won, came to an end in February when he was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for rape, although a Barcelona court authorized his release from jail on Wednesday in exchange for a bail of 1 million euros (almost 1.1 million dollars).

The former football star was convicted more than a year after his provisional prison entry in January 2023, when Mexico’s Pumas terminated their contract with the Brazilian.

Now, he could be released “by paying a bail of 1,000,000 euros,” after which his Spanish and Brazilian passports will be withdrawn, and he must stay away from the rape victim, announced the Barcelona Court on Wednesday, in the order that agrees to the player’s freedom.

From his debut with Esporte Clube Bahia in Brazil at 18 years old in 2001, to his last match with Pumas in January 2023, at 39 years old, Alves played almost a thousand official matches with his club and national team, amassing a vast collection of trophies.

“I am 39 years old and along with my trophies, I am the most successful in football history with 43 trophies. Oh, and if someone surpasses me, I will play until I’m 50,” he stated in June 2022 on his social networks.

His list of honors grew as he moved through clubs like Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain, who sought Alves as one of the best full-backs in the world.

Coming from a humble family in Juazeiro, in the state of Bahía, at ten years old he got up at five in the morning with his brother to help his father in the field, before going to school. He debuted with his local club, but was quickly discovered by Sevilla, which he joined in 2002 and where he stayed for six seasons.

After two UEFA Cups, one Copa del Rey, one UEFA Super Cup, and one Supercopa de España, Alves headed to Barcelona for 35 million euros (38 million dollars).

In his first eight seasons at Barcelona between 2008 and 2016, Alves won 23 trophies, including three Champions Leagues, three Club World Cups, six La Liga titles, and four Copa del Rey titles.

Crazy and joyful guy

In 2016, he left Barcelona as a free agent to go to Juventus, where he stayed one season winning a league and a Coppa Italia and reached another Champions League final, lost to Real Madrid.

“Dani is a crazy and joyful guy who lives his life at 300 km/h,” said his teammate at Juve, Giorgio Chiellini.

He signed for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, again as a free agent, to try to help his former Barcelona teammate Neymar win the Champions League, although without success.

That did not prevent him from winning two French leagues in his two seasons in Paris, a city he did not like. “Paris is a stressful city, I don’t like it much,” he told GQ Brazil, adding that he didn’t like the “racists” in France.

Famous is his 2014 episode where he humorously responded to a banana thrown at him when he was about to take a corner kick in a league match at Villarreal. The Brazilian simply responded to this act of racism by picking up the fruit and taking a bite before taking the corner.

In 2019, Alves returned to Brazil and won the Paulista championship with Sao Paulo, before a brief return to Barcelona. “Now it’s time to say goodbye,” he wrote on his Instagram in June 2022 when he left Barça for Mexico, evoking “more than eight years dedicated to this club, these colors, this home…”

The World Cup thorn

His club journey is reflected in the Brazilian national team, with which he debuted in October 2006 and won his last of 126 international matches coming off the bench against South Korea in the round of 16 of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

He was an unused substitute when Brazil lost on penalties to Croatia in the round of 16, with the World Cup being the only trophy that has eluded him. He lost in the quarter-finals in South Africa-2010, again in the semifinals in 2014, and was not in Russia-2018 due to a knee injury.

He won two Copa Americas, the second replacing Neymar as captain in 2019, and at 38 years old, led Brazil to Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2021. It was his last trophy before his action in a Barcelona nightclub, which has led to his conviction and his time in prison.

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