Trophy takes a tumble and disappears under vehicle's wheels as footballers celebrate victory over arch-rivals Barcelona
Exuberant Real Madrid footballers rode triumphantly back into town on Thursday morning with the Spanish cup in their hands, but then accidentally dropped it from the top of a double-decker bus – which ran over it.
Defender Sergio Ramos was at the front of the top deck as the bus neared the central Cibeles fountain where Real Madrid fans traditionally gather to celebrate their victories.
A 1-0 win over arch-rivals Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, thanks to an extra-time goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, filled the city centre in the early hours of Thursday morning with chanting Real Madrid fans waving white flags and scarves.
Ramos had the huge cup perched on his head and appeared to be trying to jump up and down with team-mates when it slipped from his hands.
The trophy fell on to the tarmac in front of the moving bus and was run over. "The cup has fallen!" Ramos cried out.
TV pictures showed the cup disappearing under the slow-moving bus at a spot close to its right front wheel.
The bus came to halt while some players peered over the edge to see where the cup had gone and others continued to bounce up and down.
A group of firemen and police then appeared to recover the cup, which was not seen again as the party continued. El Mundo newspaper's website reported that the cup had been smashed into 10 different pieces.
But Ramos later told the Telemadrid TV station: "The cup is all right."
The incident did not prevent Real Madrid fans enjoying their victory over Barcelona in the clubs' second of four encounters in just 18 days.
A huge number of fans had stayed on the streets until the team arrived home from eastern Valencia, where the final was played, at 4am.
The club's captain, Iker Casillas, tied a Real Madrid scarf around the neck of the Cibeles statue.
The two teams meet again next week – on 27 April – to play the first round of their Champions League semi-final at Real Madrid's Bernabéu stadium. They will play the second leg at Barcelona's Camp Nou on 3 May.
On Saturday they drew a league match, leaving Barcelona comfortably ahead in the table as the season draws to a close.
Ramos joked about the incident on Twitter on Thursday morning. "There has been a misunderstanding about the cup," he wrote.
"It didn't fall, it jumped when it got to Cibeles and saw so many Madristas [Real Madrid fans]."
But he later added in a second tweet: "Don't worry, it is fine."