South Africa 2010 winners Spain were greeted to a triumphant return amid wild victory celebrations in the Spanish capital on Monday night.
Fabregas said: “This is for the Arsenal players, the Arsenal fans, the manager Arsene Wenger and all the staff. I am really proud being an Arsenal player. It is for them. They deserve it and they have a world champion at the club. I’m proud to give this trophy to all the fans, I’ve had lots of texts and messages; my phone is full. I had a text from Arsene Wenger. He said ‘Congratulations, you deserve it’. I replied ‘thank you very much’ and told him this is for the whole of Arsenal who have helped me get where I am today.”
The European and world champions met King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and enjoyed an open-top bus ride through the streets of Madrid, where over a million people had gathered.
Coach Del Bosque said at a brief presentation: “This cup, this triumph is for all of you, and for the whole Spanish football factory. It’s not only winning but how you win, and that’s what these players have done, they are an example to all. Thanks for all the support you’ve sent to us in South Africa, you are also world champions.”
Captain Iker Casillas said: “I don’t know what to say, only that I’m delighted to be here with you. We (the players) have achieved the dream that we’ve all had since we were small.”
And goalscoring hero Andres Iniesta joked: “Thanks to the octopus we are champions. I only want to say that you should be proud of this group. They’re the best. I’m very proud to be part of them.”