MADRID (AP) — For a third straight year, Real Madrid are celebrating a European title with their 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.
Players and team members participated in a ceremony at a local cathedral. After this 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.”
Cristiano Ronaldo, who after the final hinted he could be leaving Madrid, heard fans asking him to stay at the club.
“Thank you for all of your support,” Ronaldo told the crowd. “We made history, it’s time to be happy.”
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 next stop was due to be the team’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where nearly 80,000 fans were expected to attend a ceremony honoring the European champions.
The stadium was packed on Saturday with fans watching the match on eight big screens set up at midfield. Confetti blasted from a stage behind the screens when the players lifted the trophy in Ukraine.
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.