Real Madrid fans decked in their team’s meringue white erupted in joy in the Spanish capital Saturday as they snatched their 10th Champions League title in a dramatic come-from-behind 4-1 victory in extra time over local rivals Atletico Madrid.
Delirious supporters who had been following the Lisbon match on giant screens or television cheered in Madrid’s streets, set off firecrackers, beeped car horns and poured into the city centre to celebrate the end of their 12-year wait for the “Decima” — a 10th European trophy.
In Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium in a posh part of the capital, an 81,000-capacity crowd watching the live replay on giant screens roared in delight and twirled their scarves in the air.
“It was time for the Decima. We have been waiting a long time,” said a joyous 20-year-old student Angela Suarez as she watched Real move ahead on their way victory in a nail-biting Champions League final, the first in history to feature two teams from the same city.
“That’s it. We’ve done it. But we suffered. For a moment I thought we would have to carry on waiting for the Decima,” said 28-year-old hostess Susana Hernandez, dressed in the team’s white shirt.
Across town in Atletico’s Vicente Calderon stadium, many of the 55,000 fans left in tears.
Atletico supporters stared in silence at the giant screens relaying a story of defeat.
– ‘Two minutes from being champions’ –
One Atletico fan leaned against a car outside the stadium and wept openly. Another walked away briskly, tears streaming down his face.
The pain was all the greater because Atletico had been leading 1-0 until the 93rd minute when Real Madrid equalised in injury time before wreaking havoc in extra time.
“It’s a big blow. We were two minutes from being champions of Europe,” said a teary-eyed, 23-year-old engineering student, David Montero, dressed in his team’s red-and-white jersey.
“It is very hard to lose that way because we were so close and the fans were so excited. But we had a good season, we can be proud,” said Aitor Ramos, 44 year old bank manager and life-long Atletico fan.
Atletico were playing in their first Champions League final in 40 years and had been praying to take the trophy for the first time in the club’s history, just a week after they won the Spanish league.
Nevertheless, they have enjoyed extraordinary revival in the year and a half since Argentine coach Diego Simeone took over, revolutionising a team that had been overshadowed by vastly wealthier and far more famous rivals Real Madrid.
In the minutes after their win, Real Madrid fans streamed into the centre of Madrid to their traditional victory party venue, a statue of the Greek goddess Cybele in front of City Hall, which had been fenced off by police.
Some 1,250 police were deployed in the Spanish capital to prevent clashes.