30 JUNE 2008

Triumphantly holding aloft the European Cup after Spain emerged champions of Euro 2008, an elated King Juan Carlos echoed the sentiments of football fans across his home country on Sunday night. "This is a moment for all Spaniards to rejoice!" declared the delighted monarch, as he and Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero joined the squad in the dressing rooms. "Congratulations to all Spaniards. It is a moment to celebrate a magnificent triumph."

Accompanied by his wife Queen Sofia the king had watched the nail-biting final - in which Spain beat Germany 1-0 - from within the Vienna stadium. And when Liverpool ace Fernando Torres hit home the only goal of the night, the monarch couldn't contain his excitement, leaping out of his seat in impromptu celebration.

His enthusiasim was matched by that of the Spanish president. "This is just the beginning," he enthused. "The best is yet to come. Now we're going for the World Cup!"

The victory marks Spain's first major football title in 44 years.

Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel was on hand to console the losing team, offering a few words of commiseration to its captain Michael Ballack.

Photo: ©
In the dressing room King Juan Carlos proudly holds the European Cup, decorated with ribbons in the colours of the Spanish flag Photo: © Rex Click on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
The king, Queen Sofia and Spain's Prime Minister Zapatero join the jubilant players Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
While the German chancellor consoles captain Michael Ballack Photo: © Getty Images