Real Madrid 4 Atletico Madrid 1 comment: How 'La Decima' was celebrated in the streets of Madrid
Monday 26 May 2014
Sergio Ramos delighted the hordes of Real Madrid fans that had gathered to celebrate their Champions League success by declaring Los Blancos “rule the capital”. It was 6am on Sunday at Cibeles, the club’s usual gathering point to celebrate cup triumphs, and it came less than a mile away from the square where Atletico Madrid had celebrated their first La Liga win in 18 years just a week before.
Football is a wonderful game but it is often a cruel game as the red and white part of Madrid found out at the weekend. Diego Godin’s header had Atleti just minutes away from securing an historic double and another day of celebration at Neptuno until Ramos’s bullet header had the game heading for extra time. His club’s wait for ‘La Decima’, an obsession, came to an end thanks to further goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid’s flattering 4-1 victory in Lisbon.
A week ago the red and white shirts of Atletico were all that could be seen in the Spanish capital. The bars were packed to see the club from the Vicente Calderon end La Liga’s ‘big two’ duopoly of Barcelona and Real and 200,000 supporters joined in the official celebrations with Diego Simeone and his squad. Bart Simpson, Elmo and other famous characters that tourists usually like to grab a picture with were not in their usual attire of Real Madrid’s all-white shirt, they were sporting the shirts of Atleti. Quite the compliment.
Seven days later and their remarkable league success seems to have ben quickly forgotten. The giant Atletico shirt that joined Real’s in Sol, Madrid’s central square, to celebrate the city being the ‘Capital of Football’, has disappeared. In its a place a tribute to Los Blancos’ tenth European Cup. ‘Yes, yes, yes, The Decima is here’. Neptuno stood empty, the barriers in place just in case, and all that could be seen was a sea of white. Cars tooted their horns, taxis could not be booked. Real Madrid did indeed rule the capital.
They say revenge is a dish best served cold and Ramos’s claim came after Atleti’s players had issued the first cry. "Listen up Vikings, we rule the capital!” was the chant on their triumphant return from Barcelona but Ramos and company were quick to make their rivals eat their words. The Spanish international couldn’t wait. Real normally rule the roost in the Spanish capital and normal service, it seemed, had been resumed.
When Real Madrid party they party hard and Sunday morning’s gathering at Cibeles was not enough. The Blancos camp flew straight back from Lisbon, taking their celebrations from the Estádio da Luz to the team bus, complete with trophy in the window, then on to the plane and the specially-clad ‘Campeones’ bus that took the squad from Barajas airport down the Paseo de la Castellana and to Cibeles for the second time this season following their Copa del Rey joy in Valencia. The party didn’t end there. Of course it didn’t.
The Bernabeu was sold-out for a specially-organised beam back of the match on Saturday night and Madrid officials worked hard to put arrangements in place for another fiesta at 10pm on Sunday. Tickets were free and were quickly snapped-up. The triumphant team were around an hour late but the gathered Madridistas didn’t care. This was ‘La Decima’ after all, they’d been waiting long enough.
It was worth the wait, too. Smoke machines, giant replica trophies of all ten European successes, a light show to rival that of any Disney theme park. Madrid’s players came out one by one before the whole squad and coaching staff lifted the famous old trophy on a platform above the big screens in the middle of the pitch. Songs were blasted out, photos were taken, and a pretty penny was spent on a firework show on top of three sides of the stadium.
There was also the unveiling of a new song, sung by the squad and led by an enthusiastic Ramos, to commemorate the tenth. This is Real Madrid. Ramos led the speeches while Iker Casillas and Ronaldo joined in, too. Manager Carlo Ancelotti turned Pavarotti, as Spanish sports paper Marca neatly put it, to sing along to the new Decima song. He wasn’t alone, with his adoring public helping him along the way.
As is now customary at these type of events, the whole families got involved and when the players’ children started taking centre of attention that’s when the supporters headed for the exits. It was nearly midnight on Sunday and the weekend was drawing to a close.
The new trophy was quickly installed into Madrid’s trophy-laden museum in the Bernabeu and for the fans the celebrations will continue throughout the week with bragging rights swiftly restored to the white part of the Spanish capital. Those celebrations could continue into the summer with Spain looking to defend their World Cup in Brazil. It’s been a big season in Madrid and it’s set to continue after the briefest of breaks.
Madrid returned to its usual all-white dominance at the weekend but Atleti’s success this season should not be forgotten. Those that travelled to Lisbon were loud and proud and their voices did not diminish. Not after Ramos’s goal, not after Bale’s decisive second and not after Casillas had lifted the trophy for a third time. Simeone received a round of applause from the media in his post-match press conference. Atleti were a side defeated on the night but not over the course of the season. Their year was sublime.
Madrid has indeed been the capital of football over the past fortnight and it could be again in July should Vicente Del Bosque’s men return to the city with another World Cup being held aloft. Los Blancos’ success is fresh and Atleti’s should not be forgotten. All this while Barcelona has been watching on from afar with envious. The capital fiestas will only feed their hunger for a return to those days in Catalonia next season.
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