Bayern Munich of Germany defender, David Olatokunbo Alaba has opted out of his club’s UEFA Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade of Serbia in order to be with his partner at the birth of their first baby, medgasportsarena.com reports.
The Nigerian-born Austrian international will be absent from Tuesday’s game in Belgrade in order to be with his heavily pregnant partner, Shalimar Heppner , a public relations manager, who is half Asian and has an older brother named, Glenn, with their father, Frank, a famous cook based in Grünwald, Munich.
With the couple’s first child on the way, sources say Alaba’s pastor friend, Jan Kohler Hillsong is involving his church in enhancing the spiritual life of the duo, who are now tipped to be in line for a formal wedding at the edifice that is particularly popular with young celebrities, among whom is Candian pop star, Justin Bieber.
It will be yet another personal milestone for the soft-spoken yet vastly enterprising Alaba, who was born in Vienna, Austria on 24 June, 1992 to a Philippines mother, Gina and Nigerian father, George Alaba, with his sister a professional recording artist named Rose May Alaba.
His Visayan mother emigrated from Philippines to work as a nurse in Vienna, where she met George Alaba, who hails from Ogere-Remo in Ogun State, and is also a performing musician, a rapper and a DJ.
The dark-skinned Cupid-faced lad’s father first arrived in Vienna to study Economics before becoming the first black guard soldier in the Austrian army, while his mother was named Miss Philippines in the country of her birth in the 1980s.
Alaba, who often has Philippines’ flag stitched onto his boots while he waved the Nigerian one on the pitch at Wembley after Bayern’s 2012/13 Champions League final victory, twice turned down the Bundesliga record champions before eventually agreeing to sign their deal, after he had earlier been spotted at a youth tournament in Manchester by Munich scout, Werner Kern.
He talent was first put to the service of local club, Aspern before his father guided him towards Austria Vienna at the age of 10 and, by April 2008, at the age of 15, he was named on the first-team’s bench, then sensationally sold to Bayern a month later.
The Bavarians’ left-back, who is also a devout member of Seventh-day Adventist Church, did not travel with his club mates for Tuesday’s Group B fixture, but his absence will not be direly felt, as the squad have already qualified fror the knock-out stage and will clinch top spot with victory.
Ironically, it also an opportunity for Alaba to fully recover from a recent run of tough outings with the team, as he has been busy playing in various positions for Bayern, due to long-term injuries to Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Sule, while Jerome Boateng was not available to play the games against Borussia Dortmund and Fortuna Dusseldorf through suspension.
Consequently, Alaba has been filling in at centre-back for Bayern in recent matches, but he will not be in the squad for Tuesday night’s game, while Michael Cuisance is also absent from Hansi Flick’s side, with the French midfielder not available due to illness.
Alaba, who currently earns $9m yearly and has a net worth of about $20m, has won several awards and silverware, among which are six German Bundesliga titles, including five successive prizes from 2012 to 2017, in addition to a Champions League gong in 2013.
The 26-year-old star, who was also named Austrian Footballer of the Year six times at a stretch, from 2011 to 2016, had initially been in a relationship with a handball player and stylist, Katja Butylina, confessed that he is now enjoying the best of any romantic life and floating on cloud nine in love with Shalimar Heppner, who he met a year and half ago.
Alaba disclosed: “We’ve known each other for a long time, but it only sparked later, I stayed myself and it worked. I’ve had to do something. I’ve had time to invest, but it was well worth it, we went for a walk, had dinner, spent time together, and over time you realized you were on the right track, and at some point, it was fine.”