The 39-year-old defender was summoned to a Barcelona police station where he was “taken into custody” and will appear before a judge on Friday, said a spokesperson for Catalonia’s regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra.
It was unclear whether Alves, 39, would remain in police custody after the hearing.
The alleged victim told police the Brazilian footballer and former Barcelona star touched her under her underwear without her consent at a Barcelona nightclub on December 30.
Accompanied by her friends, the woman reported the incident to the nightclub’s security staff, who then alerted the police.
Officers arrived at the scene and took a statement from the woman. She filed an official complaint for sexual assault on January 2.
Alves told Antena 3 in an interview earlier this month that he was at the club with other people but he denied any such behaviour.
“I was dancing and having a good time without invading anyone’s space,” he said. “I don’t know who this lady is … How could I do that to a woman? No.”
The charge of sexual abuse in Spain can mean anything from unsolicited and unwanted sexual groping to rape. Police said they could give no detail on the case.
Alves is one of world football’s most successful players, winning major titles with several elite clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
He currently plays with Mexican club Pumas. – Al Jazeera.