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"And now for the Undécima!"

AS AS 26/05/2014 As.com

A practically full Santiago Bernabéu received their champions as heroes. Heroes of the Décima, who 12 years later have returned Madrid to the summit of Europe, and brought back to the club the title they’ve won more often than any other side.

The players made them wait, finally arriving by bus at the Bernabéu at 10.30pm having been to thePuerta del Sol, where they presented the newly won European Cup to thousands of fans and then to Madrid City Hall, with the European Elections delaying the official acts.

However it was the heroes of Lisbon who were made to wait once they were inside the ground. With the stadium in darkness, scenes from the season were shown on the big screens that had witnessed yesterday’s triumph over city rivals Atlético (4-1), while comedian Miki Nadal got the crowd going in his own inimitable style. The new Real Madrid anthem was also played, complete with a video of the players recording it.

Then it was finally time for the coaching staff and players. First up was Carlo Ancelotti, the only coach, alongside Bob Paisley, to have won the European Cup three times, followed by Zinedine Zidane and Paul Clement – all received tremendous applause. After the coaches, the players: crossing in order of descending squad numbers. Miki Nadal introduced each with a comment on their contribution to Madrid’s success.

Real Madrid celebrate their 10th European Cup, at the Bernabéu. © Proporcionado por AS Real Madrid celebrate their 10th European Cup, at the Bernabéu.

Iker and Ramos were charged with lifting the famous old trophy before the 70,000 fans. As the celebrations continued Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’ alternated with ‘Como no te voy a querer’ (How could I not love you), with its new wording, referencing ten, not nine, European Cups. “The Décima is for all of you, for all the Madridistas in the world. I hope you enjoy it, after today it’s time to think about the Undécima, the eleventh”, said Casillas.

Sergio Ramos also had his turn with the microphone: “It’s a privilege to form part of the best team in the world, hopefully I can be here for years more and retire at the Bernabéu. I have the supporters’ love in me. It’s a dream fulfilled to be able to lift the ‘orejona’ [big-ears, in reference to the European Cup’s handles], but it’s taken a huge amount of work, from the players, coaching staff and all of you. I dedicate this to my wife and son, and to Pitina, Florentino’s wife, who helped us from on high.”

Ancelotti was given the microphone and the words to the new Real Madrid anthem, written by Red One, and gave an eager performance, though he’s unlikely to be giving up football coaching and taking up the microphone professionally anytime soon. “It’s a source of pride to do our jobs to make the people who follow us happy. This is football”.

Álvaro Arbeloa had a fitting epilogue: “Right now this is pure happiness, but to win this Champions League we’ve been through tough times. It’s indescribable, we’ve won the most important trophy in [club] football, we’ve been waiting a long time and it’s unrepeatable. The main thing is being able to share it with the people you love and with all themadridistas”.

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