Madrid: Swathed in the red and yellow colours of Spain, hundreds of thousands packed central Madrid to give a hero's welcome home on Monday to "La Roja" — the national soccer team that erased the economically struggling country's gloomy mood by winning the Euro 2012 Championship with flair.
With the celebrated team back, it was time to party for a second straight night. After a 2 ½ hour open-air bus ride through the fan-packed streets, squad members took to a stage in Cibeles plaza against the backdrop of Madrid's majestic town hall and danced to pop music while spraying each other with sparkling wine.
"It was a merited triumph, we made history and now it's time to celebrate it," said mastermind midfielder Xavi Hernandez, adding that Spain hopes to build on the success of the past four years. "Next we'll go for the Confederations Cup (2013) and then the World Cup in Brazil (2014), but first we want to enjoy this one."