Euro 2016: Joe Ledley misses Wales homecoming party to get married

Joe Ledley
Joe Ledley has become something of a cult hero with his dance moves going viral on social media

Joe Ledley will miss Wales' Euro 2016 homecoming party in Cardiff on Friday as he heads to Ibiza to get married.

It had been thought the 29-year-old would postpone his wedding following Wales' run to the semi-finals.

But the midfielder confirmed after Wales' 2-0 defeat by Portugal that he is still heading to the Mediterranean to marry partner Ruby May on Saturday.

"The boys are going back to Wales to see the fans, but I've got a wedding to attend," Ledley said.

Wales' run to the last four of the European Championship was their best performance at a major international tournament and the team will be greeted with a special homecoming event in the capital city.

A celebratory open-top bus tour will leave from Cardiff Castle and Welsh band Manic Street Preachers will play to an expected sell-out crowd of more than 33,000 fans at Cardiff City Stadium.

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Highlights: Portugal 2-0 Wales

Although Wales' adventure ended in defeat in Lyon on Wednesday, Wales fans say the team's heroics - at their first major finals since 1958 - have changed Welsh football forever.

"I don't feel I need to go back and see what we've achieved means to the supporters," said Ledley.

"I know deep down how much their support from back home meant to me."

BBC Wales will follow Friday's homecoming celebrations on television, radio and online in English and in Welsh.

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Bus route: Wales players expected to be greeted by thousands of fans

Wales began the tournament as one of the outsiders but caused a shock by topping Group B, finishing above England despite losing to their neighbours.

They then edged past Northern Ireland in the last 16 before upsetting a highly regarded Belgium side 3-1 in the last eight.

"We have created history as no other Welsh team has gone further than us, and it's going to be a good few years before another team beats that," said Crystal Palace midfielder Ledley.

"Hopefully they do, but what we've achieved is history-making. We'll go down as legends, hopefully."

It was a message echoed by Ledley's team-mate, Joe Allen, who hopes the adventure will inspire the nation to greater things.

"We are hoping that this story and journey we have been on will change Welsh football forever," Liverpool midfielder Allen said.

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Wales will now hope to build on their success when they start their 2018 World Cup campaign at home to Moldova in September.

Austria, Georgia, the Republic of Ireland and Serbia are also in the group and Allen feels Wales are in a good place to qualify for the finals in Russia.

"We have to use this experience as a springboard, we don't want this to be a one-off for Welsh football," he said.

"We want this to be what inspires us to do it again and again. With the quality we have got in the team, the set-up we have, we are confident we will do that.

"We wanted to make our mark and set the tone for the World Cup, the next European qualification.

"I think the age of the group will mean we are together for the next few years at least."

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