- Associated Press - Sunday, June 7, 2015

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Thousands of Barcelona’s fans flocked to the city center on Sunday to celebrate with their team a day after it won its fifth European Cup and completed a historic treble of titles.

Having already won the Spanish league and Copa del Rey trophies, Barcelona became the first team to complete a sweep of the Champions League and its two main domestic competitions in the same season on two separate occasions. Barcelona first achieved the rare feat in 2009.

Festivities ran through the night as thousands of Barcelona fans gathered near the city’s main square after the team’s 3-1 victory over Juventus.

On their return from Berlin, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta carried the large, elephant-eared trophy down the steps from Barcelona’s chartered plane at El Prat airport.

Lionel Messi and the rest of Barcelona’s talented team were then whisked to an open-top bus, which paraded them through the Catalan capital.

The three trophies won this season sat on the top of the bus with the players and coaching staff, who ate pizza before setting off on the slow trip through the city under the late afternoon sun. They waved, took photos and shot confetti into the crowd lining the streets.

The team then continued the party at the Camp Nou. The club said the 67,000 free tickets for the event were snatched up hours before the festivities began.

On Saturday, Barcelona beat Juventus on goals from Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and Neymar, with Alvaro Morata scoring from the Italian champions.

Barcelona, which last year failed to win a major title for the first time in six seasons, has returned to the summit of European football under first-year coach Luis Enrique. It has now won Europe’s top-tier competition four times in the past decade.

“The truth is to be here again is something incredible,” Messi said to the crowd gathered at Camp Nou. “After a tough season last year that cost us a lot, to rebound and get back here again is something spectacular. We have to enjoy this, but I don’t have any doubts that this group will continue to win because it has the desire and motivation to continue doing so.”

Sunday’s headline for Madrid-based sports paper AS said “Era Renewed,” while Barcelona-based sports dailies El Mundo Deportivo and Sport both splashed “TriChampions” across their front pages.

Barcelona’s bus was decked out in the club’s burgundy and blue colors, a massive photo of the team and the motto “Champions. A second treble. We continue making history.”

Xavi began the parade propped on the back edge of the bus with a red-and-yellow Catalan flag draped over his shoulders. After 17 seasons, the 35-year-old midfielder is leaving Barcelona with a club record of 25 titles and 767 appearances, and a Champions League milestone of 151 appearances.

Xavi later told Barcelona’s supporters at Camp Nou that he would “miss you very much” and that he was “leaving you in the hands of future captain Andres Iniesta.”

Dani Alves also made what could be his last appearance on Barcelona’s pitch. The Brazil right back has yet to sign an extension to his contract which ends this month.

“I want to thank all my teammates and staff and all of you for making me happy at this club,” he told the stadium with tears in his eyes. “I don’t know how long this dream will last, I don’t know if it has reached its end. But I know I was happy here. I am happy here, and I will be happy because I am one of you.”

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