A man lay prostrate on a park bench. He is no down and out – like millions of fellow Spaniards he has just been celebrating a little too hard.
A street cleaner in a luminous green jacket siphoned up litter nearby. At least he had made it to work this morning but many others might have been forgiven for oversleeping.
After failing to live up to expectations on the international stage for so long, Spain’s football team are now World Champions, two years after winning the European championship.
“I’m really happy, very proud to be Spanish”, said supporter Douglas Vasquez, originally from Latin America. “I’ve come to this nation and, at least, I can say that one of my dreams has been realised: to see a team like Spain become World Champions and that’s why I am happy to be Spanish today.”
At the final whistle the ocean of red and yellow in central Madrid erupted. Fans roared their delight, hugged their neighbours and wept with joy.
Their moment of triumph was hard earned: minutes earlier they had been biting their fingernails as the final seemed to be heading towards a penalty shoot-out.
But Iniesta’s late strike ensured that Spain deservedly overcame an aggressive Netherlands side to seal victory.
During extra-time the match secured Spain’s highest ever audience for a televised live event.
It is an important morale boost for a country hit as hard by the economic crisis as their team’s midfield was by flying Dutch tackles.
The scenes are likely to be repeated when the new World Champions arrive home later today for a victory parade through the Spanish capital.