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Warm welcome

Madrid celebrates Realís European Champions Cup

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Posted: Thursday May 25, 2000 05:51 PM

  Real Madrid Players Thursday's celebrations culminated with a party at the legendary Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. AP

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Tens of thousands of flag-waving fans lined the streets Thursday to welcome Real Madrid as it returned from Paris with its eighth European Champions Cup.

Braving drizzly weather, players and staff rode atop a bus with a blow-up of the team photograph on the side.

Police on motorcycles accompanied the bus as it rolled into town from Barajas airport and inched its way toward Paseo de la Castellana, the elegant boulevard that bisects Madrid from north to south, and then on to Plaza de la Cibeles, a traditional rallying point.

An estimated 100,000 people converged on the square at midnight Wednesday after Real Madrid crushed Valencia 3-0 to win the European cup at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, just outside Paris.

But after about an hour the jubilation in Madrid turned violent, as fans scuffled with police and riot squads ended up using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

A spokesman for the Madrid's Samur ambulance service said 230 people were treated for injuries, including 55 police officers. None was in serious condition. Ten people were arrested.

Thursday's celebrations were to culminate with a party at Real Madrid's legendary Santiago Bernabeu Stadium downtown.

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