¡campeones! – at the Palacio Real
After resting at the hotel for several hours, the players once again got on the bus. They arrived at the Palacio Real around 17:50h, and weren’t there for very long, under an hour. At the palace were five members of the royal family: King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofía, Princess Elena, Prince Felipe and Princess Leti. Later on, Felipe and Leti’s two daughters Leonor and Sofía would join the party.
As Iker entered the Palacio Real, he was seen asking where the cup was (it was being held by someone else). He got it back in time to enter the salon holding it – he was the first one – since the event started with a meet and greet. The king was seen giving Iker a big hug, much like he had done at the trophy ceremony of the Eurocopa, and chatting a bit with Villa, Xavi, Iniesta. He also asked Xabi how he was recovering (the queen would also do so later). Sergio Ramos joked around with the king, and the majority of the players broke protocol to give Elena and Leti two kisses. The rest of the delegation (read: non-players) had to make do with handshakes.
The king gave a short speech, thanking everyone on the team for “making our dreams a reality” and for “being an example of sportsmanship, nobility, fair play and teamwork.” He also singled out VDB for praise, and thanked them in the name of all Spaniards. After that, he went to pose for the “foto de familia” with the team, and Iker handed him the trophy so he could hold it. Iker also gave him a shirt signed by everyone, and got another hug.
The best part came after that, when the two small infantas showed up, both wearing the red shirts of the team. Felipe told them to give Iker a kiss, and both of them seemed hesitant to do so (they’ll definitely regret it when they get older). Then Iker offered to let them touch the cup – Leonor kind of patted it, and Iker helped her to hug it, supporting the base because the cup is really heavy, and because he’s such a gentleman. Sofía merely scratched at the top of the cup before withdrawing her hand. Álvaro Arbeloa, one of the three of the players still wearing their medals (Busquets and Xabi were the other two), then took his off and showed it to the infantas. At one point, Leti twisted Leonor’s head around to show her something, because she wasn’t listening to her mother.
Side note: Leonor is my new favorite member of the family, after Elena’s son Froilán grew up and got less mischievous.
Then drinks were served.
A cool detail: the royal family was dressed like the Spanish national team, all in red, white and blue. Elena was wearing a red top and blue pants, and Letizia was wearing a blue top and white pants, like the kits the Spanish team has worn in the World Cup. The players looked a bit strange because everyone around them were in suits and they were wearing t-shirts and sweatpants and sneakers. And when Queen Sofía traveled to South Africa to attend the semifinal game against Germany, she was so confident that Spain would win that she packed enough for five days, along with two suits for two games. The second suit was a dark blue one, so she could match the team, as she had done with her red suit against Germany.