River Plate return to Argentina, celebrate Copa Libertadores title with fans

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Buenos Aires, Dec 24 (IANS) Argentine football club River Plate returned home after winning the Copa Libertadores title in Madrid and participating in the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates to celebrate their victory with fans at the Monumental Stadium in the capital.

After landing at the Ezeiza airport on Sunday, the South American champions travelled about 30 kilometers to reach the stadium and celebrate their 4th Copa Libertadores title, reports Efe news.

“I am here to celebrate the historic Libertadores victory and to thank this team for this joy, which we will never forget. After winning the Copa against Boca it would have been great to win the Club World Cup, but nothing beats this happiness,” Nicolas, a fan, told Efe.

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After being cheered by fans along the way, River players and staff celebrated the end of a dream year at the stadium after beating arch-rivals Boca Juniors in the Copa final on December 9 and later finishing third in the Club World Cup.

In the presence of around 60,000 fans, the players who received the biggest applause as they lined-up on the red-carpet were Ignacio Scocco, Gonzalo Martinez, Jonatan Maidana, Lucas Pratto and captain Leonardo Ponzio.

But the loudest cheer was reserved for coach and mentor Marcelo Gallardo, who added more to his personal and club achievements this year.

“Thanks for being here, thanks for supporting us, for enduring us and for encouraging us, for all the love received over the years. It’s a great emotion what I am feeling right now, it’s a great feeling to share with this group of players,” Gallardo said.

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After displaying the trophy and a re-enactment of the third goal against Boca in Madrid, players took a round of the stadium in an open bus and then a fireworks display concluded the night’s celebrations for the more than 100-year old club, among the most popular and successful football teams in the country.

–IANS

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