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The new world champions were given a celebration to remember...

Spain have thrown the fiesta to to end all fiestas as the entire country celebrated La Furia Roja's world conquest in South Africa.

Some have partied for 24 hours straight, from the second the final whistle went, to the moment the open-top bus parade ended at the Puente del Rey in Madrid and the festivities continued on an open stage.

The players themselves have had a whirlwind 24 hours and the bruising, punishing bludgeoning they took from the Dutch throughout 120 minutes in the final seem to be a distant memory. Their celebrations expectedly began in the dressing room and the corridors of the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg where they mingled with royalty and celebrities, including tennis star Rafa Nadal.

But there were no rest for the newly-crowned world champions as they boarded their flight to leave South Africa to head back to Spain early the next morning. And the fiesta continued in mid-air as the players took the concept of in-flight entertainment to a whole new level.

As the players walked up and down the aisles collecting autographs, chanting and dancing while blowing the vuvuzelas, they are presented with a cake from the flight crew:



The band leader Pepe Reina, helped by the trio of David Villa, Sergio Ramos and Xavi is seen here singing and teasing lovebirds Iker Casillas and his girlfriend Sara Carbonero:



Back in Spain, meanwhile, La Roja fans all across the country partied throughout the night on the evening the Spanish Armada defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in the final. Most didn't go to bed until the early hours of the morning, others didn't go to bed at all.

But that didn't stop them from continuing the celebrations the next day as they welcomed their heroes back on Spanish soil.

The freighter carrying the 2010 world champions touched down in Madrid's Barajas Airport at around 1330 CET and the party immediately began for the staff and the crowd who gathered at the airport as they welcomed home captain Iker Casillas and coach Vicente del Bosque, the World Cup trophy and the entire squad with chants of "Campeones! Campeones! Ole ole ole!"




The players, coaching staff and team managers were then quickly whisked away for a quick siesta before meeting King Juan Carlos, who was unable to attend the final in person in Johannesburg.

"Thank you, champions, in the name of all of Spain and for all Spaniards. This is a well deserved victory for an outstanding team which thrilled the hearts of all Spaniards. You've brought together the whole of Spain, made our dreams a reality, and projected the name of Spain around the world," the King addressed the triumphant squad.

While the street parties across Madrid started to pick up steam and crowds began to multiply, La Seleccion then had an engagement with Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, who singled out hero Andres Iniesta for special praise.

"I want to make a special mention to somebody who dedicated his winning goal to someone who is no longer with us," Zapatero said, referring to Iniesta's goal celebration when he revealed a message he had underneath his jersey: 'Dani Jarque - Always With Us'.



Once the meeting with Zapatero was over, thus began the long, slow journey through Grande Via to the Puente del Rey for the open-top bus parade. The players waved and displayed the World Cup trophy to the masses lined up along the streets.


Fans get the first glimpse of their heroes while the heroes get their first look at the throng of delirious supporters who welcomed them home



Fans of all shape and sizes...




... young and old lined up the streets



Casillas in charge of the flag-waving; Xavi takes care of the champagne



Pepe Reina considers starting his own band with Fernando Torres and Jesus Navas. Ideas for a band name, anyone?





Coach Del Bosque said during the stage celebrations when he addressed over 200,00 fasn, "This cup, this triumph is for all of you, and the whole Spanish football family.

"Thanks to all the support you've shown us in South Africa. You are also world champions."

Captain and the ever-emotional Iker Casillas added, "I don't know what to say, except that I'm delighted to be here with all of you. We've all achieved the dream that we've had since we were young."



Hero Iniesta did not hesitate when it came time to show his gratitude: "Thanks to the octopus, we are world champions!"

Joking aside, Don Andres added, "I only want to say that you should be proud of this squad. They are the best. I'm very proud to be part of the group."

And if you can't get enough of Pepe Reina and his Eurovision auditions, here's more...



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