REAL Madrid's former goalkeeper Iker Casillas has just celebrated his 38 birthday a month after collapsing with a heart attack whilst training with his current team, Oporto – and just days after his wife, Sara...
Details emerge of Rafa Nadal's and Meri Perelló's wedding
EAGERLY-AWAITED details of tennis ace Rafael Nadal's forthcoming wedding have finally been made public after being shrouded in secrecy for months – he and Xisca Perelló will wed in an abbey on the north of their native island of Mallorca, and top celebrity chef Quique Dacosta will provide the catering.
According to the programme Socialité on Spain's fifth TV channel, Telecinco, the venue was chosen because it is 'private and spacious' – the latter being necessary with between 500 and 600 guests expected.
Although it was reported by thinkSPAIN in January that the couple were due to wed in the autumn, it now transpires that the ceremony will be in June.
Given that both are fiercely protective of their private lives, they have not given away any details until now, hoping to escape the paparazzi.
Whilst not expected to be a celebrity wedding per se, it appears that Rafa and 'Meri', who have been together since sixth form, are not planning to spare any expense: Valencian chef Quique Dacosta, who has three Michelin stars and eponymous restaurants in Valencia city and in Dénia (Alicante province) has prepared two different menus, one meat and one fish, replete with traditional Mallorcan recipes, plus a third one exclusively for Rafa who, at his level of sporting competition, is on a strict diet that he will not break even on his big day, sticking to vegetables and healthy, low-fat dishes.
Project manager and head of strategy and institutional relations for the Rafael Nadal Foundation and working directly alongside its chairwoman, Rafa's mother Ana María Parera, María Francisca Perelló, 30 – known as 'Meri' to friends and family but whom the media have often referred to as Xisca – has not only supported her future husband's career from an administrative level, but also accompanies him on every tournament.
Born and bred in Manacor, like Rafa, and originally a schoolmate of his sister's, Meri has worked on the PR team of electricity board Endesa and also as assistant manager of MAPFRE insurance, both in Palma de Mallorca where she studied her degree in business management and economics at the university.
She has also spent the last nine years helping to develop a tennis training school for little boys and girls in Anantapur, India, as well as other social integration projects in the latter country and at home.
Meri and Rafa, 32, are also said to be big watersports fans.
As yet, other details of the wedding – such as the location of the abbey, the reception venue, which brand or designer will be chosen for the dress, and where the couple will go on honeymoon – remain unknown.
The former world number one - who crashed out of the Mutua Madrid Open at the weekend after Greece's Stefanos beat him 6-2, 4-6 and 6-3 in the semi-finals, paving the way to Serbia's Novak Djokovic's netting the title for the third time in his career – had tried hard to keep his forthcoming nuptials completely secret after proposing to Meri in Rome a year ago, but only managed to do so for seven months before the story was leaked.
Nadal is said to smiled at reporters who caught up with him at home, saying he knew they had come to ask about the wedding and understood they needed to 'do their job', but that he was not going to reveal anything.
Neither were his lifelong neighbours in Manacor willing to talk, insisting that they 'respected the couple's privacy' and that their doing so meant Rafael Nadal was 'just like any other local' whom they 'waved to and greeted' when passing in town.
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