Champions return to thunderous reception
About 10,000 fans were waiting for Luis Aragones and his team at the airport on Monday evening, blocking the traffic and causing other flights to be delayed.2 July 2008
MADRID - Euro 2008 champions Spain flew into Madrid-Barajas airport to a thunderous reception on Monday evening.
Around 10,000 fans were waiting for Luis Aragones and his young team at the airport, blocking the traffic and causing other flights to be delayed.
Spain picked up their second European Championship trophy by beating Germany 1-0 in Vienna on Sunday, on a goal from striker Fernando Torres.
First out of the airplane were Aragones and captain Iker Casillas, holding aloft the first major trophy won by Spain since 1964.
Aragones then told the media that "this is possible thanks to the hard work of the players and the coaches."
The 69-year-old "Wise Man", appearing to be close to tears, added that "I am not a man of great emotions, but today I am really full."
He then walked away to join his players at an impromptu photo call, possibly to avoid breaking down and crying.
Aragones is set to leave the Spain job to take over at Turkish giants Fenerbahce, having turned down a last-minute two-year contract extension offer from the Spanish federation.
His replacement on the Spanish bench will almost certainly be former Real Madrid boss Vicente del Bosque.
Aragones has managed to become extremely popular at the end of his tempestuous four-year reign, for having converted a group of small and slow touch players into a cohesive and dangerous unit with a winning mentality.
After disembarking from the airplane, the players put on clean red shirts and piled onto an open-top bus for the drive to the city centre where a multitude of fans lined up to see their heroes.
The climax of the night will be a massive outdoor party at the immense Plaza de Colon, where tens of thousands of fans have followed Spain's Euro 2008 matches on a gigantic screen.
The celebrations will continue on Tuesday with an official visit to Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's residence in the Palacio de la Moncloa, on the outskirts of the capital.
Zapatero was present in Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadion to cheer Spain on to victory, alongside leader of the opposition Mariano Rajoy, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.
[dpa / Expatica]