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Champions League kings Madrid deliver on celebration promise


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Real Madrid celebrated the Spanish title with thousands of supporters in May, pledging to return in June with the Champions League trophy.

Los Blancos delivered on their promise, defeating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at Wembley to claim a record 15th European Cup on Saturday.

The triumphant players hit the city's usual celebration hotspots on Sunday and are set to end up at the club's Santiago Bernabeu stadium where the party will finish, for now at least.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe's expected signing in the coming days should see the festivities continue.

"Vinicius, Ballon d'Or" chants were heard at intervals from fans throughout the afternoon, after the Brazilian netted Madrid's second goal in the final to clinch victory.

Dani Carvajal had opened the scoring with his first Champions League goal for eight seasons, against the run of play after Dortmund had dominated.

However, as they so often tend to do, Madrid found a way to survive and ultimately thrive.

The team's stars, led by president Florentino Perez, made their first stop at the city's Almudena cathedral.

"I don't know which team Jesus would support, but I know that... he would surely appreciate this cup," said the cardinal archbishop of Madrid, Jose Cobo, who was left with a replica trophy.

The team then returned to the Madrid regional government's headquarters to present another replica to president Isabel Diaz Ayuso, whom they also met after winning La Liga.

"If we are here, it's because there's good news," said Real Madrid captain Nacho. "Once again we are champions of Europe. It seems easy to say -- 15 time champions... I hope it's many more times."

Nacho, along with Carvajal, the retiring Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, reached a career sixth Champions League victory, equalling the all-time record set by former Madrid winger Paco Gento well over half a century earlier.

Germany international Kroos was singled out for special praise by chief Perez, having set up Carvajal's winner in his final match for Madrid after a decade at the club.

"We are the kings of Europe," sang Carvajal to thousands of white-shirted fans massed in a central square, Puerta del Sol, before calling on Kroos to take the spotlight.

"Three weeks ago I promised you we'd be back," said Kroos, while fans chanted for him to stay.

"Many thanks for ten unforgettable years, I have no more words," added Kroos.

'A new dream'

While the midfielder is departing, Madrid's success is likely to continue.

"I have already told you that this club is currently working towards the realisation of a new dream -- namely the sixteenth European Cup," said Perez.

Madrid will have another 'trophy' to celebrate soon, in the marquee signing of Mbappe, who could help them achieve that dream.

The French forward is finally set for the Santiago Bernabeu after seven years at PSG, many of which Madrid have spent trying to lure him to Spain.

Madrid are expected to announce Mbappe's signing on Monday or Tuesday next week and fans are ready for him to finally fulfil what has long appeared his destiny.

"The relationship between Madrid and the Champions League is legendary, mystical, and so it's very special," said Claudia, 23, while waiting for the team to arrive at Plaza Cibeles, where Madrid celebrate their trophy conquests with supporters.

"He's a player born to play at Real Madrid.

"I'm taking it as done that he's arriving next week... the best players in the world have to play at Madrid, and Mbappe is in the top three players in the world."

Ancelotti is used to managing players of that calibre and won a record fifth Champions League as a coach on Saturday.

The Italian posed once more with a cigar in his mouth, sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap alongside Vinicius, Rodrygo and the team's other Brazilian stars, in what will become another indelible image from the celebrations.

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