Spain's triumphant Euro 2012 heroes parted a red-and-yellow sea of fans in central Madrid on Monday in a giant, deafening national fiesta that swept aside all thoughts of economic crisis.
An open-top double-decker bus ferried the team like a small boat picking its way through a vast ocean of hundreds of thousands of adoring Spaniards waving flags, cheering and dancing to thumping rock music.
Helicopters hovering above filmed a crowd that seemed to carpet the entire heart of the capital to rejoice in Spain's historic 4-0 thrashing of Italy in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
At the climax of the party, the players basked in glory in the central Plaza de Cibeles square, where Queen's "We are the Champions" blared from loudspeakers.
In the centre of the square, a huge Spain flag was draped around the neck of an emblematic stone fountain of the goddess of nature riding a chariot hauled by lions.
The team joined a rock group to sing and dance on a huge stage in the square, with towering video screens behind.
Rappers blared out the song "No hay dos sin tres (You can't have two without three)" in praise of Spain's unprecedented third straight title and the team danced along, wearing red T-shirds reading "Champions of Europe."
"For me it is a great pride to be able to captain this team of great players and great people," Spain goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas told fans from the stage.
"Thank you for being here!"
Left winger Andres Iniesta, who was crowned the player of the tournament, said he was humbled to be part of a legendary squad.
"But more than anything I feel very proud to see your expressions of joy in these difficult times for us -- it is a matter of pride to see you happy," he said.
During the victory parade, Spaniards packed the streets from the buildings right to the edge of the bus, which was escorted by mounted police as it gingerly made its way to the city centre.