MADRID, July 2 (Xinhua) -- The players of the Spain football team have celebrated their historic success in the 2012 European Championship with their followers in the Spanish capital city of Madrid.
Spain defeated Italy 4-0 in Sunday's final played in Kiev to make history by becoming the only team to defend their European title, while also winning the World Cup in between the two competitions.
The plane carrying the Spain team arrived at Madrid's Barajas Airport from Kiev just before 4 p.m. local time and the squad left for the Royal Palace of the Zarzuela just over an hour later.
King Juan Carlos of Spain congratulated the players and coach Vicente del Bosque one by one for their success, while Spain captain Iker Casillas gave the King a commemorative shirt.
The team then took an open-topped-bus to travel through the packed streets of the capital to the Plaza Cibeles in the center of Madrid.
The sheer volume of hundreds of thousands of supporters lining the streets meant the journey took much longer than expected, but nobody seemed to mind as everyone joined in the celebrations. Even the firemen, who used their hoses to help ensure that none of the supporters suffered too much from the heat.
The bus finally reached Cibeles, where thousands more fans were waiting. There the players were finally able to get off the bus and receive the applause they so richly deserve.
The highlight of the celebration was reserve goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who showed what an important member of the squad he is for helping keep morale high, with a magnificent and entertaining speech in which he introduced his companions, some of whom may have enjoyed a couple of drinks, to the fans.
Fans across Spain began their celebrations from the moment the final whistle was blown on Sunday night. Supporters spilled out into the streets to drive around their towns sharing their joy at Spain's historic achievement until the early hours of the morning, with thousands of supporters in the Plaza Cibeles in Madrid and in cities all over the country.