Nerves give way to joy as 15th European crown celebrated in Madrid

By AFP   June 1, 2024 | 05:26 pm PT
Nerves give way to joy as 15th European crown celebrated in Madrid
Real Madrid celebrate winning the Champions League, June 1, 2024. Photo by Reuters
Real Madrid fans had to bite their nails before victory was sealed, but at the end the kings of Europe were back on their Champions League throne on Saturday.

For those who could not make it to Wembley, the final was shown on a giant screen at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu home, where 70,000 people held their breath as Borussia Dortmund came close to taking the lead three times in the first half.

Little by little, Madrid took control and then the inevitable happened -- second-half goals from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior secured a 2-0 win and a sixth Champions League trophy in a decade.

"We did it, once again. It's hard to do and we had to suffer at each turn to get to this point," said Fran, a 33-year-old supporter.

"We will never tire of winning. It's Real Madrid, we have to win, and win again."

With victory secured, Madrid are set to be even stronger next season with the addition of French superstar striker Kylian Mbappe, who is expected to confirm in the next 72 hours that he is heading to the Spanish capital.

"I believe that with what awaits us, this is only the beginning," Fran added.

Jema, a 42-year-old fan, was almost in tears -- and admitted she had found the match tough going when Dortmund's yellow briefly swamped Real's white shirts.

"It's crazy," she said. "I was thinking of leaving before the first goal but thankfully I stayed -- it was worth it!"

"I just don't have words for it. My mother doesn't understand football and says to me: 'what are you doing there?' But I have always loved Real, I just can't understand it."

She even has a tattoo of the Champions League trophy on her thigh, incorporating the Real Madrid club badge.

"I have had all the dates of the titles since the seventh Champions League was added. I have made an appointment on Wednesday for the 15th," she said.

The celebrations spilled out of the stadium into the roads of Madrid where cars sounded their horns.

The party will really get going on Sunday when the team return home to parade the trophy in front of their adoring fans.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti promised to sport "sunglasses and a cigar" when he meets the supporters.

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