Tens of thousands displaying the national colors of red and yellow thronged the streets of this capital on Monday as Spain's national soccer team celebrated its victory in the 2012 European Championship, rounding out a historic triple that also includes the 2008 Euro title and the 2010 World Cup.
The massive reception in Madrid climaxed celebrations for the title won Sunday in Ukraine and was the final ecstatic moment of almost 24 hours of partying all around the country.
After all-night celebrations following the 4-0 triumph over Italy, the Spanish team took the plane from Kiev and landed at the Madrid airport at 3:40 p.m. Team captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas emerged first from the airplane carrying the championship cup, together with manager Vicente Del Bosque.
From the airport the team marched to the airport hotel for a brief rest, then left for the Zarzuela Palace where they met for about an hour with King Juan Carlos.
Members of the Spanish squad then climbed onto an open-top bus to make their way downtown for the celebration with fans.
The bus started its journey amid a monumental mass of humanity before arriving at 9:25 p.m. at Cibeles fountain where thousands of soccer fans had been waiting several hours to greet their heroes.
Once at Cibeles, the players mounted the huge stage where, in the hours before their arrival and to make the wait more bearable, several musical acts had performed including Dover, Melocos, David Bisbal and Manuel Carrasco.
The celebration reached the point of delirium when backup goalkeeper Pepe Reina acted as master of ceremonies to present, one by one, the 22 members of the Spanish championship squad.