Lawyer who worked for Messi joins Alves’ defense team

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The lawyer who worked for Lionel Messi in his tax fraud case has been added to the defense team of former Barcelona defender Dani Alves, who is facing sexual assault charges.

Renowned lawyer Cristóbal Martell will try to help Alves in his defense against sexual assault accusations made by a woman he met at a nightclub in Barcelona on Dec. 30.

Martell was part of the defense team when Messi was found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to 21 months in prison in 2016 in Spain, though the sentence was suspended and the Argentina star did not have to serve time.

The 39-year-old Alves has been in jail since Friday after a judge ordered him to be detained without the possibility of bail following the testimony from the player, his accuser and a witness.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Alves’ relatives had asked for changes in his defense team after he was jailed and denied bail, according to Spanish media.

Alves has won 42 titles in his soccer career, including three Champions Leagues with Barcelona and two Copa Americas with Brazil. He played in his third World Cup in Qatar, the only major title to elude him.

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