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Kings of Europe

Long yearning ends with crowning glory

They stroked it, they hugged it, and over and over again, they kissed it and hoisted it into the London night sky. Once the Bayern stars had finally laid hands on the greatest trophy in club football, they were never going to let it go again in a hurry, first at Wembley, then at the official post-match banquet, and then at the private party back at the team hotel. “We've waited so long for this cup, and now we’re overjoyed. This is such a fantastic season!" gushed Franck Ribéry after a desperately hard-won and long yearned-for triumph in the Champions League. “We're just utterly delighted we've finally got hold of the thing," said Thomas Muller.

Some 2,000 guests, including Bavarian Minister President Horst Seehofer, Minister President emeritus Dr Edmund Stoiber, DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach and FCB honorary president Franz Beckenbauer, celebrated the triumph at Grosvenor House. “Drink plenty! Because today we’ll party till dawn, and tomorrow we’ll go home after a night without sleep,” commanded Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in his address.