Madrid celebrates Champions League title with fans back home
MADRID (AP) For a third straight year, Real Madrid celebrated a European title with its fans.
Madrid brought the Champions League trophy home on Sunday and paraded it through the streets of the Spanish capital as thousands of fans saluted the newly crowned champions.
Madrid was back in Spain after winning its 13th European title with a 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday.
The celebrations ended at a packed Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where players and fans shouted for Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at the club.
”This (support) is very important for me,” said Ronaldo, who after the final in Ukraine hinted he could be leaving Madrid. ”I’m proud to play in the greatest club in the world.”
Ronaldo avoided making any specific comments about his future, although earlier in the day he had left a celebration by telling fans ”until next year.”
The festivities began with players and team members participating in a ceremony at a local cathedral. Then they met with the city mayor and community president before addressing fans from a terrace at the Puerta del Sol square, one of Madrid’s main locations.
”It has become a routine to be here,” captain Sergio Ramos said. ”Hopefully it will continue for many years.”
The team then got on an open bus and paraded with the trophy until reaching the club’s traditional celebration spot, the Plaza de Cibeles, where fans had been waiting for the champions for hours.
The players chanted ”Campeones, Campeones” and ”We Are Kings of Europe” along with the fans. Ramos and Marcelo carried the trophy across the walkway set up over the plaza’s fountain and draped the statue of the goddess Cibele with a Spain flag that carried Madrid’s name on it. Ramos also put a team scarf around the goddess’ head to huge cheers from the crowd as the song ”We Are The Champions” was played.
The final stop was at the Bernabeu, where nearly 80,000 fans attended a ceremony honoring the European champions.
Players and coaches were introduced one by one amid a lights show, then lifted the trophy on a midfield stage as confetti and fireworks blasted in the background.
The stadium had already been packed on Saturday with fans watching the final on eight big screens set up on the field.
Thousands had already made it to the Plaza de Cibeles right after the game in celebrations that lasted into the early hours of Sunday.
Madrid has won the Champions League in four of the last five years. It had beaten Juventus last season, and city rival Atletico Madrid in finals in 2014 and 2016.
Members of Real Madrid’s basketball team, which won the European title this year, were also honored in the ceremony at the Bernabeu.
Associated Press writer Joseph Wilson contributed to this report.
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