Depending on whom you believe, there are two versions of how the then Arsenal footballer Cesc Fabregas met his glamorous girlfriend Daniella Semaan.
Her account of events goes that they swapped numbers after she nervously went up to him at a Japanese restaurant in London to ask for his autograph for her football-mad son.
Her fellow WAGs at Barcelona, where Fabregas now plays, prefer a more colourful tale. In their version, the gorgeous Miss Semaan hip-swayed provocatively across the room, followed by the popping eyes of every male diner, before brazenly dropping a piece of paper, on which was written her mobile number, on to the player’s table.
Court battle: Fabregas is at the heart of divorce proceedings which have reached the Court of Appeal
Fabregas had called it by the time she’d sashayed as far as the door, so the story goes.
Where both tales converge is that pneumatic, Lebanese-born Daniella was, apparently, happily married at the time, to her London-based, millionaire businessman husband, Elie Taktouk, with whom she has two children.
The first inkling 38-year-old Mr Taktouk had of the affair was when he opened his morning newspaper in June 2011 to be greeted by the sight of his wife, who is also 38, sharing a sun lounger with the Spanish international on holiday in Nice in the south of France.
And there are few things more likely to put a man off his breakfast than discovering the bikini-clad ‘mystery brunette’ draped all over a world renowned footballer in some foreign clime happens to be his own wife.
Mr Taktouk has not taken being cuckolded — so publicly — lying down. This week, he dragged 25-year-old Fabregas into the ongoing (and very messy) legal battle with his ex-wife over the proceeds of their 13-year marriage.
At a Court of Appeal hearing in London, he accused Miss Semaan of lying to a judge in their divorce case last month by claiming the footballer does not fund her lavish lifestyle.
Mr Taktouk, who also originates from the Lebanon, wanted to reverse an order stating that he must sell the £7 million flat the couple shared in Belgravia in order to give his ex a £1.4 million lump sum to buy a new home in the capital. He is furious that within three weeks of putting the grade II-listed apartment on the market, he received a £5.4 million bid for it from a business based in Barcelona — it transpired the company belonged to Fabregas.
Fabregas is said to have immediately fallen for the beauty even though she was married
Daniella said that she receives no money from Fabregas, other than support for the new born daughter
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For his part, Mr Taktouk claims his wife, whom he brands a ‘gold digger’, is trying — with the help of her super-rich lover — to get the home on the cheap while also pocketing the pay-off.
For her part, Miss Semaan, who is 13 years older than her lover, refutes these allegations and insists the soccer star, who earns £5 million a year, does not fund her lifestyle and will give her money only to take care of their newborn daughter Lia.
It is just the latest round in the increasingly acrimonious battle between the former husband and wife into which ex-Arsenal captain Fabregas has been dragged.
Even after a judge eventually threw out Mr Taktouk’s application to be allowed to appeal against the divorce settlement this week, the businessman wouldn’t give up.
He immediately announced he will return to court in the coming weeks in a bid to persuade another judge to block the sale of the flat, which is in a stucco building in one of London’s most prestigious addresses.
And despite her protestations that Fabregas only provides her with transport to and from London and Barcelona — as well as looking after her while she is in Barcelona — the case shines a light on the intriguing life of the colourful Miss Semaan.
This week pictures emerged of her sharing a private jet with the player, and luxury holidays are commonplace. Miss Semaan, known to her friends as ‘Queen DD’ because of her expansive cleavage, has been photographed tottering around the pool in towering wedge shoes and a succession of barely-there swimsuits in the likes of Ibiza and the millionaires’ playground of Porto Cervo in Sardinia, with her boyfriend.
Spurned: Elie Taktouk, Daniella’s millionaire ex-husband
Meanwhile, reports from Spain paint Miss Semaan’s glamorous life with the footballer in a far from hard-up light.
According to the city’s paparazzi, the deeply religious Miss Semaan, who talks about her Catholic faith constantly on Twitter, is regularly to be seen emerging from Fabregas’s ultra-modern apartment in a sun-dappled side street in one of the city’s most elegant districts.
An average day consists of racing around in her boyfriend’s red Ferrari, one of several cars at her disposal, and shopping for designer clothes and Chopard diamond jewellery in the Passeig de Gràcia — Barcelona’s equivalent of Bond Street.
Not exactly slumming it. Which, perhaps, might account for the jealousy and vitriol the ambitious Miss Semaan has increasingly been subjected to recently.
And among other wives and girlfriends at Barcelona, she has not always done herself many favours.
According to sources in Barcelona, she has rubbed the other WAGs up the wrong way with her attention-seeking behaviour.
Her principal crime, it seems, was to steal the limelight from the bride at the wedding of her lover’s team-mate Andres Iniesta to his long-time girlfriend Anna Ortiz last summer. Miss Semaan turned up in a plunging, slashed-to-the-hip, purple silk dress.
And last October, Miss Semaan had a pop at Bar Refaeli, the Israeli supermodel and former squeeze of Leonardo DiCaprio, whom she accused of flirting with Barcelona players. After Miss Refaeli posted a picture of herself with the vice-captain Xavi Hernández, Miss Semaan went on to Twitter to complain: ‘Some models obsession about certain players is becoming ridiculous. some respects, please!’
The fiery Daniella is not universally popular in her native Lebanon and she has become the victim of a vicious internet hate campaign.
She has been waging a running battle with another Twitter user, who goes by name of Doctor Lebanon and claims to live close to the village in the north of the country where Miss Semaan was brought up.
The cyber critic — who appears to have personal knowledge of Miss Semaan — somewhat unreasonably accuses her of being a ‘gold-digger’ and ‘soulless cougar’ among his more publishable comments.
Daniella Semaan with Cesc Fabregas. Her ex-husband has claimed that she will leave the footballer as soon as ‘the money runs out’
Semaan’s friends say that Fabregas immediately fell for her beauty. Pictured here on holiday in Sardinia
Maybe jealousy played a part, for she certainly has done well for herself. Her background is modest, born into a large family of brothers and sisters close to the small town of Miziara.
It is where she met her husband, who is from a rich family.
After arriving in London shortly after their marriage in 1998, she and Mr Taktouk moved in to a £5 million house in Chelsea.
They went on to have two children, Maria, now 11, and Joseph, eight. In 2009, the family moved into the flat in Upper Belgrave Street where they were still living when the marriage collapsed.
Last year, Mr Taktouk claimed in a newspaper that he and Miss Semaan were still living as husband and wife and were trying for another baby when she was first photographed on holiday with Fabregas.
He accused the footballer of ‘stealing’ his wife and said of the discovery she had been cheating on him with the player: ‘I was completely numb and in shock for months. I was in denial but never wanted her back.
Taktouk claimed that Fabregas attempted to buy his home for £2million less than he believed it to be worth
‘The minute I saw those pictures I felt disgusted by her behaviour and just cut off all emotions.’
Of his usurper, Mr Taktouk sneered and claimed: ‘He is 25 and a fool. She went after him and she would leave him as soon as his money and fame run out. He is no David Beckham.’
Miss Semaan gave birth to Fabregas’s first child earlier this month while he was playing in Barcelona’s Champions League match with Paris Saint-Germain.
The next day on Twitter the midfielder posted a picture of the baby’s hand clutching his and wrote: ‘Yesterday it was the happiest day of my life’.
From the start, their affair has been fast-moving. Fabregas had seemed happily settled down with his childhood sweetheart Carla Garcia, who he had dated since he was 16 and a trainee at Barcelona’s football academy.
Dark-haired Miss Garcia moved to London with her boyfriend when he was signed by Arsenal in 2003. But after seven years together, he suddenly announced it was over, saying he ‘wanted to be alone’.
That was in May 2011. A month later, came that ‘sun lounger’ photo.
Semaan’s friends say that she brazenly walked across the room and dropped her number onto Fabregas’s table. He had called her before she left the restaurant
One can only imagine that Miss Garcia’s reaction to the picture was similar to that of Mr Taktouk.
To date, she has taken her humiliation quietly.
Fabregas laughably claimed at the time that he and Daniella were just good friends, but almost immediately they were a couple.
Certainly, he has traded up in the glamour stakes from the pretty, if homely, Miss Garcia.
Aside from Daniella’s expensive shopping habits, he may find the road ahead bumpy: some of her ‘foot in the mouth’ observations will ensure life is never dull.
She recently posted a message on Twitter stating: ‘Weak girls allow weak men to change them. A diamond does not stop being a diamond and become a regular rock, just because a few couldn’t afford it.’
To borrow footballing parlance, Fabregas can expect a few more late challenges in his new life with Miss Semaan. The courtroom drama could be just the kick-off.