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Page last updated at 22:31 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 23:31 UK

Madrid revels in Spanish triumph


Spain's jubilant players and coach returned to a heroes' welcome

Euro 2008 champions Spain have arrived home to a heroes' welcome from about one million ecstatic fans in Madrid.

They arrived at Madrid Barajas airport about 1840 BST in a plane with "Campeones" (champions) written on it.

They then paraded the Henri Delaunay trophy on an open-top bus on their way to a packed Plaza de Colon.

As the bus travelled down Madrid's main Paseo de la Castellana avenue the crowd chanted "Si, si, si la copa ya esta aqui" (yes, yes, the cup is now here).

The crowd also chanted "Luis quedate!" (Luis stay), in a plea to 69-year-old coach Luis Aragones to reverse his decision to quit.

Journalists travelling on the team plane said the players had also encouraged him to continue.

I don't think we'd have gone so far without these great fans

Germany captain Michael Ballack

Captain Iker Casillas told the packed crowd "this cup is yours" as the team joined the celebrating fans.

"We're just starting to become aware of what we have achieved," Casillas screamed to the crowd.

"We were really motivated to get back here to share this."

The Madrid keeper then handed the microphone to the "one man who got us where we are today, Luis Aragones".

Even the normally downbeat Aragones was caught up in the moment and joined the singing of "A Por Ellos" ("Let's Go Get Them"), which has been one of the team's theme songs since the 2006 World Cup.

"If I couldn't manage the quality of players that we have here, then it would be impossible to win the Euro. Why? Because we have the best team in the world," said Aragones.


Sunday's 1-0 win over Germany, courtesy of a goal from Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, gave Spain their first major tournament victory in 44 years - they claimed the 1964 European Championship by defeating the Soviet Union.

Earlier, German fans turned out in huge numbers despite seeing their side slip to defeat to welcome their players home when they arrived back in Berlin on Monday.

An estimated 300,000 people were in front of the Brandenburg Gates, after 600,000 fans had cheered their country on the night before.

"I don't think we'd have gone so far without these great fans," said captain Michael Ballack.

"We all saw the TV pictures of what was going on back here and it felt like we had an extra man on the pitch all the time."

see also
Xavi awarded Euro 2008 accolade
30 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
BBC pundits on Euro 2008 final
29 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Germany 0-1 Spain
29 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Torres - the making of a legend
30 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Spain team guide
15 May 08 |  Spain

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