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Ronaldo interrupted by invaders

The Toe Poke about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jul 1, 2008

Emotional Aragones 'overwhelmed' by praise

Spain coach Luis Aragones admits he has been left feeling 'overwhelmed' by the praise he has received from his players following their Euro 2008 success.

The 69-year-old, known in his homeland as El Sabio (The Wise Man), received the plaudits after Spain's 1-0 win over Germany on Sunday ended the country's 44-year wait for a major footballing honour.

Following an open-top bus tour around Madrid on Monday, the squad met with the Spanish royal family and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Tuesday, when Aragones spoke of his feelings two days on from his side's victory in Vienna.

'I don't show what I feel inside, that's just my way,' he said.

'I feel overwhelmed and this is very emotional. I'm not one for big shows of feeling, I don't often show my emotions, but I'm overwhelmed after everything I have heard the players say, I'm emotional.'

He returned the favour to his players, describing his squad as 'the best in the world' and implored them to continue their good work following his departure.

'We're all involved in this: the federation, the players. Because you, you are the best players in the world, not just Europe,' he continued.

'At the start people thought I was saying that to motivate them, but little by little they realised it is true.

'There is no team in the world who plays the ball better than us. Keep on working in this way, and achieving more success.'

Heavily criticised before the tournament, most notably for his decision not to call up Real Madrid captain Raul into his 23-man squad, media, fans and players alike are now begging Aragones to stay.

Goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas chanted 'Luis, stay with us' during the celebrations on stage in central Madrid on Monday.

But despite his apparent reluctance to confirm whether or not he will take up a job offer from Turkish side Fenerbahce, Aragones has continued to stress that the final in Vienna was his last match with the national side.

Prime Minister Zapatero, however, expressed his confidence that even without Aragones at the helm, this Spain team was about to enter a new era of prolonged success.

'You won with such clarity and conviction. You played a game that was spectacular and brilliant. It was real football,' he told the squad.

'We are at the start of the best times of football for the national team and for Spanish sport. You have given a great image of Spain in Europe and the world.'

The man set to lead Spain into this golden era is former Real Madrid boss Vicente Del Bosque. According to reports, the 57-year-old will be unveiled later this week.

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