Euro soc­cer stars’ stun­ning wed­dings

Wedding sea­son is in full swing on the other side of the world. Take a look at the glam­orous nup­tials of these big sports stars

DRUM - - Contents - COM­PILED BY NI­COLA WHITFIELD

WE MAY be in mis­er­able mid-win­ter in this neck of the woods, fight­ing frost and freez­ing cold fronts – but on the other side of the equa­tor the sun is golden, the sky is blue . . . and church bells are peal­ing a-plenty. Wedding sea­son is in full swing in the north­ern hemi­sphere and join­ing in the mid-sum­mer wedding ma­nia are four faces you’re more likely to see on soc­cer pitches as they try to beat op­po­nents at the top of their game.

But on their big day, all these sports stars had to con­tend with was the beating of their hearts.

SER­GIO RAMOS & PI­LAR RU­BIO PLACE: SEVILLE, SPAIN

THE 33-year-old Real Madrid cap­tain wed his long-time love and mother of his three sons at a star-stud­ded ex­trav­a­ganza that in­cluded David and Vic­to­ria Beck­ham as guests.

Pi­lar (41), a Span­ish TV pre­sen­ter, looked gor­geous in a beaded dress with a flow­ing veil, her gleam­ing brunette hair in braids and her ears drip­ping with di­a­monds.

A huge di­a­mond wedding ring added to her col­lec­tion of bling and she clutched a bou­quet of black lilies as she emerged from the Seville Cathe­dral af­ter the cer­e­mony, hand-in-hand with her hand­some groom.

The guests then made their way to Ser­gio’s es­tate near Seville where they were re­port­edly al­lowed in only once they’d all had a tem­po­rary uni­corn tat­too ap­plied and sur­ren­dered their cell­phones and other de­vices with cam­eras or mi­cro­phones.

A mini play­ground com­plete with bumper cars had been in­stalled and rum, cham­pagne, chur­ros and chocolate were the or­der of the day. Mu­sic was cour­tesy of AC/DC, the bride’s favourite band, who per­formed as a wedding gift for the cou­ple.

“It was such a spe­cial mo­ment for us af­ter be­ing to­gether for so long,” said Ser­gio, who’s been with Pi­lar since 2012. “We have formed a fan­tas­tic fam­ily with three lit­tle ones who fill our lives with pas­sion. We felt it was the ideal mo­ment [to wed] and we wanted our chil­dren to en­joy it.”

Ar­se­nal mid­fielder Santi Ca­zorla con­fessed af­ter­wards he drank rum “and only rum” all day and he was su­per proud of him­self for “go­ing on the bumper cars for an hour and a half and not falling off”.

MESUT ÖZIL & AMINE GÜLŞE

PLACE: IS­TAN­BUL, TURKEY The lux­u­ri­ous Four Sea­sons ho­tel on the banks of the ma­jes­tic Bospho­rus river was the venue for the wedding of Ar­se­nal star Özil and his bride, a Turk­ish and Swedish model and beauty queen who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2014.

How­ever, the wedding wasn’t with­out con­tro­versy. Turk­ish sec­u­lar wed­dings dic­tate that one man and one woman act as le­gal wit­nesses for the cou­ple – and Ozil’s choice raised more than a few eye­brows.

He asked Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan, Turkey’s con­tro­ver­sial pres­i­dent, and his wife, Emine, to be their wit­nesses and it didn’t go down well in all quar­ters.

But enough about pol­i­tics. The bride was gor­geous in her white dress and tiara and tuxedo-clad Özil beamed con­stantly as the pres­i­dent wished them love and hap­pi­ness.

Clearly the new­ly­weds have their hearts in the right place: they made a size­able do­na­tion to the Turk­ish Red Cross, part of it to help feed thou­sands of Syr­ian refugees along the Syr­ian-Turk­ish bor­der. Özil then en­cour­aged his fans to match his do­na­tions to BigShoe, a char­ity that pro­vides funds to un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren who need emer­gency op­er­a­tions.

“As a pro­fes­sional foot­baller I’m in a priv­i­leged po­si­tion,” he said on Twit­ter. “How­ever, I in­vite ev­ery­one who’s willing and able to help to sup­port a spe­cial pro­ject close to our hearts. Amine and I will bear the ex­penses for surg­eries of 1 000 chil­dren in need.”

HARRY KANE & KATIE GOODLAND

PLACE: EX­OTIC RE­SORT IN AN UNKOWN LAND The Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur striker and Eng­land cap­tain wed his child­hood sweet­heart and mother of his two chil­dren at a se­cret venue – al­though he did share a few pic­tures with his fans on so­cial me­dia.

“Fi­nally got mar­ried to my best friend,” he wrote on Twit­ter along­side a pic­ture of the loved-up pair.

Harry pro­posed to his long-time love in 2017 when they were on hol­i­day in Bar­ba­dos, go­ing down on one knee on the beach in front of a taken-aback Katie. It’s not known whether the cou­ple’s daugh­ters, Ivy Jane (two) and Vivienne Jane (11 months), were present at the wedding – or even if there was any kind of guest list.

HENRIKH MKHITARYAN & BETTY VARDANYAN

PLACE: VENICE, ITALY Cities don’t come much more ro­man­tic than Venice – and this lit­tle slice of wa­tery won­der put on a great show for Ar­se­nal mid­fielder Mkhitaryan (30) when he wed his sweet­heart, Betty Vardanyan, the 30-year-old daugh­ter of Ar­me­nian politi­cian Mikael Vardanyan.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony on Venice’s St Lazarus is­land, the new­ly­weds stepped into a wa­ter taxi, which fer­ried them to the wedding re­cep­tion.

The bride, gor­geous in an ivory dress, sparkling tiara and im­pres­sive veil, shared a kiss with her groom on the boat, fin­gers en­twined as they floated down the fa­mous canals.

Mkhitaryan shared a pic­ture of him with his bride on Face­book at the wedding venue, writ­ing “Marry me and stay with me for­ever,” along with a heart emoji.

The pair have kept de­tails of their romance un­der wraps – all that’s known is they be­came en­gaged in Novem­ber last year then set about plan­ning their spe­cial day.

And what a day it was: a cel­e­bra­tion of young love in the city of dreams.

Span­ish TV pre­sen­ter Pi­lar and Real Madrid cap­tain Ser­gio re­cently wed in Seville.

English foot­baller Harry mar­ried child­hood sweet­heart Katie at a se­cret is­land venue. BE­LOW: In 2017 he sur­prised her with a pro­posal in Bar­ba­dos.

TOP: Model Amine and Ar­se­nal player Mesut, who are both of Turk­ish de­scent, got mar­ried on the banks of the Bospho­rus. ABOVE: The cou­ple with Is­tan­bul deputy mayor Ali Yer­likaya (left), Turk­ish pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan and his wife, Emine.

ABOVE: Ar­se­nal mid­fielder Henrikh wed Betty in the ro­man­tic city of Venice.

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