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Real Madrid celebrates another Champions League title with its fans on streets of Spanish capital

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MADRID (AP) — For the second time in three seasons, and sixth in 10 years, Real Madrid celebrated a Champions League title with its fans on the streets of the Spanish capital.

Several thousands came out Sunday to welcome the team a day after it won a record-extending 15th Champions League title by beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 at Wembley Stadium.

There could be even more reasons to celebrate for Madrid fans in the coming days with the club reportedly close to announcing the much-anticipated signing of Kylian Mbappé, the France star who left Paris Saint-Germain and has been targeted by the Spanish powerhouse.

Celebrations began with the squad leaving the team's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on top of an open bus that took players and the coaching staff to meet with local officials while fans lined the streets to greet the newly crowned champions.

Toni Kroos attracted most of the attention of fans and teammates after playing his final match with Madrid on Saturday. Fans repeatedly chanted for him to stay, and players later threw Kroos into the air several times at the Bernabeu.

“I want to say thank you for the last few weeks, it was an unforgettable farewell," an emotional Kroos told the Bernabeu crowd. “And thank you for these 10 unforgettable years. You have supported me from the first day until the last.”

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti repeated the Champions League celebrations in 2022, wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigar while dancing with players.

Several thousand fans were at the club’s traditional celebration spot at Cibeles square, where team captain Nacho Fernández draped the statue of the goddess Cybele with a Madrid flag and scarf and lifted the trophy to loud cheers.

The festivities ended at a packed Bernabeu, where players addressed the fans and again presented the Champions League trophy.

“Winning makes us happy, but we are even happier to be able to share moments like this with you,” Ancelotti said at the stadium. “Nights like these are spectacular. This stadium is capable of generating an energy that allows us to never give up and to do things that may be unthinkable."

Nearly 80,000 fans had been at the stadium on Saturday to watch the final on large screens that were put on the middle of the field.

“Three weeks ago I promised that we would be back here celebrating the 15th (Champions League) title,” Kroos said.

Madrid had celebrated the Spanish league title three weeks ago in similar fashion, but it could not go to the Bernabeu because it had just hosted a concert.

Taylor Swift played at the venue a few days ago but the club was able to make it available in time for the festivities surrounding the Champions League final.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer