ICYMI – the gracias madridistas edition (II)
I was so happy when the sun came out and it stopped raining, right in time for the celebration with the players!
Once the team arrived at Cibeles, the players were announced one by one as the bus did a lap around Cibeles. As the boys stepped off the bus, “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” played and some of the players danced along, Mesut a bit shyly, while others weren’t so timid.
As always, Marcelo was the life of the party, with Pepe as a close runner-up.
They did a lap around the catwalk placed around the statue, while dancing, bouncing, singing, taking pictures, posing for each other’s pictures, waving flags and scarves…
… and of course, thanking all of the Madrid fans who had gathered at the plaza to celebrate alongside their beloved team.
We have the most adorable fans, and I love it when madridista parents start instilling the love for the club at an early age!
Karim Benzema needed no prompting to get the party started, while Gonzalo Higuaín’s uncontainable spirit managed to even infect Ricardo Carvalho, who started dancing (!) with Pipita after a bit of prompting. I love it! Ricardo’s got some moves!
Notice that the can(s) of beer never seemed to leave Xabi Alonso’s hand…
More shots of the players dancing…
… and having a great time with each other.
Álvaro Arbeloa said of the celebrations, “I think this is the best thing in the world, making people happy. I’m very content because in the end the great work we did was compensated, but the best thing out of everything is being able to celebrate with the fans.” Esteban Granero saw it like this: “we came with the Copa last year, but the Liga is special. Being with all these people and the madridista family is incredible. We have to continue like this next year so that we can continue making people happy and return to Cibeles.” And Sergio Ramos had these words of gratitude: “the event at Cibeles was great, we have to be grateful for the weather, it appeared to be overcast, but the sun came out and Real Madrid does not deserve less. I’m very happy, it’s my third Liga, and with the passing of time, you enjoy and experience titles in a different way.”
Iker walked at his own pace (read: slowly), seemingly thanking every individual in the 30,000-strong crowd. He expressed his gratitude by waving at them, bowing, kissing the escudo on his shirt, showing off the escudo on his scarf, holding up his five fingers to signify his five Ligas, and also all 10 fingers to show that next year, he would bring La Décima to la afición.
There’s no one else on the team that represents this club like its captain.
While he was doing this, the rest of the players had already completed their lap, and so they were congregated at the north end of the plaza, waiting for Iker to come around and carry out the traditional “crowning” of the goddess. As Iker was taking his sweet time, Álvaro Arbeloa and Esteban Granero got impatient, and so they went back for him! They picked him up and carried him over, with Iker continuing to wave to the crowd from atop his perch. Several minutes later, a couple more players joined the effort and tried dragging Iker over, only for Iker to end up on the ground. All of their efforts were in vain, because then Iker walked back and continued with his leisurely stroll.
I guess the other players decided to amuse themselves, because we then saw Marcelo and Pepe collecting flags and scarves, and conferring with Cristiano. They then broke protocol and stepped off the platform to street level, to dance and get up close and personal with the fans and hand out presents. I’m sure that the police loved that! Esteban Granero followed, then came Álvaro, Cris and several of the other players. One young fan managed to get over the barrier, and Álvaro stopped to pose with him.
The symbol of the best club in the world!
Marcelo is one of a kind, and I’m so happy he’s ours.
Then it was finally time for Iker to put the bufanda and flag around Cibeles’ neck. It took him a while, as he had to make sure the knots were good and tight, to prevent the scarf and flag from blowing away. As he did this, a huge quantity of confetti was released, bathing the entire fountain. And I would love to have been the guy responsible for holding onto Iker to keep him from falling over.
Only a statue could stay this serene with Iker Casillas in such close proximity, no?
I also love that Iker’s teammates were busy taking pictures of him, so in that moment, they were just 20 or so more fans at Cibeles cheering on Real Madrid!
There was a bit more dancing after this – including a conga line – and then the party started to wind down, with the players heading back to the bus.
Mou was already on the bus at this point, but he did get up at one point to bounce, in response to the fans’ chants. And Marcelo still could not be contained, as he partied his way back to the bus, dancing and giving Agustín Herrerín a big kiss.
A picture of the luckiest kid in the world and his dad…
After this, the players got back on the bus, until Iker went over to collect Cristiano. They did a slow walkaround together, with Iker helping Cris to climb up on the railings. Iker then pointed at Cris while Cris waved to the crowd, which showed their appreciation for his performance this year. They did this at several points around Cibeles. A fantastic gesture from Iker, and a fantastic tribute for all of Cristiano’s work this year.
The evening finished with dinner at the Hotel Avenida América, and Álvaro posted this photo of him and Xabi with Eládio Paramés.
Watch the entire celebration here.
The celebration will continue, after one week and a half, on Monday. The team is due at 09h at the Bernabéu. From there, the entire team will travel to the Puerta del Sol to the Comunidad de Madrid’s seat to visit Esperanza Aguirre, arriving around 10h. If you’re in Madrid, they’ll make an appearance on the balcony, and hopefully some players will be forced to sing, as in previous years. The next stop will be the city hall, located in the Plaza de Cibeles, where Madrid Mayor Ana Botella will receive them. (The two of them apparently had a great time celebrating Atleti’s title, so it should be interesting). The last stop on the “offering” tour is the Almudena cathedral. FP, Mou and the captains will offer the trophy to the Virgen de la Almudena, the patron of Madrid.
By the way, would anyone be interested in getting the songs they played during the celebration? The “soundtrack” of the celebration was a CD released in 2001. It’s called “¡Vamos Campeones!” and it’s a compilation of the songs the fans usually sing at the Bernabéu (although, 11 years later, some of them are outdated, as one mentions Raúl, Figo and Roberto Carlos). I can provide a download link, if anyone is interested. I couldn’t get the songs out of my head for days after this celebration…