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Real Madrid team and officials with the Champions League trophy at St Mary the Royal of the Almudena Cathedral, June 2 (OSV News/Josele Martin, Archdiocese of Madrid)

Europe’s best soccer team, Real Madrid, visited St Mary the Royal of the Almudena Cathedral in the Spanish capital to offer its championship trophy to Mary. Source: OSV News. 

The players arrived at the cathedral on Sunday after returning from London, where they won the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid sealed its 15th European Cup after a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on June 1.

“Mary welcomes this cup and makes it a blessing for you, your families, for the people of Madrid and for all those who value the good sport that helps to make the world a better place,” Cardinal José Cobo, the Archbishop of Madrid, told the players. 

In a cathedral packed with people, the Cardinal stressed that the Church in Madrid “wants to congratulate you heartily for this cup and for what it means for you and for our city”.

The Cardinal congratulated both the team’s players and coaches for their effort. “Sport is a means to express one’s talents, but also to build society,” he said.

“Sport, in fact, teaches us the value of fraternity. Because on the field, the origin, language or culture of a person doesn’t matter. What matters is the commitment and the common goal.”

To all of the Real Madrid players, Cardinal Cobo said that “being champions is a privilege … but it is also a personal and social responsibility, as you can see”.

The Almudena Cathedral, as it also is known, is a fairly young cathedral by Spanish standards. Its construction began in 1883 and finished over a century later, when it was consecrated by St John Paul II in 1993. 

The statue itself is much older, however. The Virgin of Almudena is a medieval statue, made in the 16th Century. The original statue is lost to history but is believed to have been brought from the Holy Land in the year 38 by St James the Apostle and brother of St John.

“I don’t know which team Jesus, the son of Mary, the one she shows us in her arms, would belong to,” Cardinal Cobo said. “But surely Jesus also wants to be present and thank us for this cup. He helps us to recognise what is truly important in life.”


Real Madrid, Europe’s Best Soccer Team, Offers Championship Trophy To Virgin Of Almudena (By Santiago Tedeschi, OSV News)