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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sao Paulo return to 10-hour victory parade

Sao Paulo return to 10-hour victory parade

December 21, 2005 14:48 IST
World club champions Sao Paulo were welcomed home with a huge victory parade which brought the centre of South America's largest city to a near standstill on Tuesday.

Thousands of jubilant fans lined the route from the airport to the city centre as the team paraded through the streets in a specially converted open-top truck.

Having completed a 22-hour flight from Tokyo, the team took around 10 hours to travel from the airport to their Morumbi stadium on the other side of the city where they were greeted by a crowd of around 15,000.

Many of the players appeared exhausted by the end of the marathon.

An estimated 5,000 fans gathered at the airport, where goalkeeper and captain Rogerio Ceni waved at fans from the plane's cockpit before the team were whisked away through a back exit.

The truck took around four hours to make the journey to the city centre for a brief meeting with mayor Jose Serra. After that, it made a stop at the Bandeirantes Palace to meet Geraldo Alckmin, governor of Sao Paulo state.

Sao Paulo won their third world championship on Sunday when they beat European champions Liverpool 1-0 in the final of the six-team tournament in Japan.

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The result was a surprise as South American club sides survive on only a fraction of the budgets of the big European clubs and have to sell their top players to stay afloat.

The Tricolor also won the trophy twice during the 1990s with a memorable team coached by Tele Santana.

"It was an heroic and emblematic victory," Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said in a television interview.

"A team made here in Brazil imposed themselves against Liverpool, which is in reality a European Select."

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