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World's most expensive footballer and his childhood sweetheart

02 SEPTEMBER 2013 Footballer Gareth Bale made headlines after signing a record £86million deal with football club Real Madrid and his girlfriend Emma Rhys-Jones was by the Welsh-born player's side as he was officially presented to the club's fans.

Gareth revealed earlier this year that the trademark heart-shaped sign he makes with his hands after scoring goals was a message to his long-term love. "My girlfriend asked what I would do if I scored," he said. "I told her I would make the heart sign."


 



The couple, who were living together in London with their daughter Alba Violet before his transfer from Tottenham Hotspurs to the Spanish capital, are said to be high school sweethearts.

Their daughter was born in Cardiff in October of last year – Gareth cancelled an appearance against Chelsea in a crucial London derby match in the Premier League to be with them – and her name is reportedly a tribute to his now former manager Andre Villas-Boas.

The glamorous brunette looked gorgeous as Gareth greeted his new Spanish fans on Sunday. She wore a white shirt tucked into a grey skater skirt while long glossy locks, a sunkissed glow and red lipstick completed the look.


 



In his inner circle, Gareth is known as a shy, home-loving boy who phones his parents daily. He is also teetotal.

"I don't go out, so I don't get attention from girls," he once said. "They're not going to have posters of me on their walls. I know people of my age like to go clubbing but it doesn't interest me that much. I just like chilling indoors, watching DVDs or going for a meal with the family."

He has always stayed close to his Welsh roots. The footballer was once given a few days off by a former manager to go abroad on holiday but instead chose to return home to Cardiff.

"That's him all over," said Harry Redknapp, who was Tottenham Hotspurs' manager until June 2012.

For several years he had a long-distance relationship with Emma, who remained in Cardiff when he moved to Spurs.

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