Great Britain

Watford star Pedro’s 15-year-old girlfriend Mel Maia heads back to school in Brazil and will return to UK when she’s 16

WATFORD star Joao Pedro's 15-year-old girlfriend has gone back to school in her native Brazil - and will not return to the UK until she is 16.

The Hornets' £20million striker, who is 18, has been dating soap star Mel Maia since late last year.

She visited him in London last month but yesterday posted photos to her seven million Instagram followers showing she was back in the classroom with school mates.

The legal age for consent in Brazil is just 14, but in the UK it is 16.

Pedro had posted a photo on Instagram of him kissing Mel beside the Thames.

The post has been seen by the footballer's 735,000 followers. The snap was taken on Southwark Bridge in London.

Pedro signed for Watford in the January transfer window from famed Brazilian side Fluminense.

After a delay in getting a work permit he penned a five-year deal and made his first start in Watford's 2-1 FA Cup replay defeat to Tranmere on January 23.

Mel shot to fame in their homeland when she was eight, in TV's Avenida Brasil.

Photos on Instagram show the pair together in September and October.

A Watford spokesman said: "Both Joao and his girlfriend are acutely aware of both the legality and cultural differences between the UK and Brazil.

“She has flown back to Brazil, will remain resident there and has no intention of returning to England until after her 16th birthday."