"Thank you for all the love you have shown," Sergio Ramos told a crowd of thousands as UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid returned from Milan to a rousing welcome.
Article top media content
Real Madrid's fans lined the streets in their hundreds of thousands on Sunday to celebrate their side's unprecedented 11th European Cup triumph as the UEFA Champions League winners returned home from Milan.
Crowned for the second time in three years, Madrid once again defeated their great city rivals Atlético to claim glory, this time via a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw. And just as they did in 2014, the Merengues immediately headed to Plaza de Cibeles upon their return, basking in their victory with the multitude of supporters who had managed to see out the night's festivities.
Wearing specially made '11' shirts, the players partied with the fans, while captain and goalscorer Sergio Ramos was handed the task of wrapping a Real Madrid flag around the statue of the goddess Cybele, much to the delight of the gathered masses.
After that, the players said farewell and left for some well-deserved rest before resuming the party at 20.00CET at Madrid's town hall. There, suited and booted, they were hosted by mayor Manuela Carmena, before Ramos gave an emotional speech.
"Thank you for all the love you've shown," he said. "This is the fruit of a lot of work, from the players, coaches and staff. It has been a season of ups and down and we've seen that when you set yourself a goal, you can reach it. This is fruit of that effort. Both we and Atlético represent football all over the world and that's a sense of pride for us.”
Club president, Florentino Pérez then presented the mayor with a team shirt before it was onto city-centre square Puerta del Sol and a reception with the president of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes. After another round of shirt-signing and speeches, the players moved to the balcony – spurred on by master of ceremonies Cristiano Ronaldo – and were greeted by tens of thousands more fans undeterred by the wet conditions.
The Madrid players promptly launched into a rendition of 'Campeones' – among other songs – and paraded the UEFA Champions League trophy before heading to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, where the party culminated with a spectacle in front of an almost full house.