Clasico win has Madrid fans salivating
Madrid was bouncing Saturday night, as thousands of fans poured out to the streets to celebrate their side’s 2-1 victory at Barcelona’s Camp Nou. Real’s victory all but ensures this year’s La Liga title for José Mourinho’s side.
Most were celebrating in the capital’s famous Cibeles fountain on the stately ‘Paseo la Castellana’ avenue, which runs for miles from the Prado museum to Real’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu ground.
Local police were on hand to keep fans from actually jumping into the fountain to party with its neo-classical marble statue of the Greek fertility goddess. The square around the monument and the surrounding streets, were full of happy Madrileño’s wearing white Madrid shirts, singing and dancing and waving flags and scarves.
"It has been difficult watching Barcelona win in recent years," said David, a student and Madrid fan wearing a Real jersey with the name and number of tonight's winning goal scorer Cristiano Ronaldo on the back. "But now it is our turn to celebrate. We played a great game tonight."
The songs and chants being hurled out by pogoing younger fans on a traffic island included ‘Campeones, campeones, ole ole ole’ ‘Hala Madrid’, ‘Viva España.’ Suprisingly, many of those chants were in favor of coach José Mourinho, who has not always been universally popular with Real Madrid fans.
One song lauded captain Iker Casillas, while also mentioning his girlfriend, TV reporter Sara Carbonero. Passing motorists needed little encouragement to lean on their horns, while many passing cars flew Madrid flags and banners from open windows.
The weather was in the Madrid fans' favor too; with recent rain clearing and the temperature nice and balmy. City center bars were still doing a roaring trade long after the final whistle blew just before midnight in Spain. Even enterprising individuals were selling cold beers on the street for a euro a piece.
The game was a vindication for Mourinho — who had never before won at the Camp Nou as a manager — and striker Cristiano Ronaldo, whose late goal secured the three points for his side.
"The League is won now," said happy Madrid fan Beatriz, an engineer from Estremadura. "So we had to come to Cibeles to celebrate. Mourinho and Cristiano get a lot of criticism, especially in the media, but we love them."
The nearby Plaza del Sol - occupied by political protesters in recent months - was thronged with fans celebrating what was likely the first La Liga title win in four seasons.
"What a great party," said Brian Taylor, an engineer from Connecticut. "The game was on in a bar where we were getting some food. It got nervous at times, but what a game. We just followed the crowd down here."
Madrid still needs six points from their four remaining games to claim the title. Yet fans at Cibeles were already planning for further street parties in the weeks to come: including an even bigger one to celebrate what would be an historic tenth Champions League trophy.
"Now all we need is the Champions League," said Israel, a Madrid fan from the city. "Then we'll be back."
Dermot Corrigan is a freelance Irish sportswriter who lives in Madrid and writes about soccer for several publications, including FOXSoccer.com, Sport 360°, When Saturday Comes and Iberosphere. Contact him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan.