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2019 European champions Serbia get heroes' welcome by thousands in Belgrade

Players, staff and officials of Serbia's men's volleyball national team on the famous balcony of Belgrade's City Hall as thousands of fans below celebrate the title of the 2019 European Championship.
Lausanne, Switzerland, October 2, 2019 - It's becoming a regular occurance in Belgrade as Serbian teams keep the trophies coming in - and this time it was the country's men's volleyball national team that got a heroes' welcome as they returned from Paris with their brand new continental title after they beat Slovenia in the final of the 2019 European Championship.

The plane carrying the Serbian delegation received a water salute from Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport fire brigade as it taxied towards the terminal building - a prelude to the extensive celebrations that were to follow in the Serbian capital.

The Air Serbia plane arriving from Paris carrying the newly crowned men's volleyball national team European champions gets a water canon salute as it taxies to the terminal of Belgrade's Nikola Tesla international airport.

The celebrations had already begun in the air, when the Air Serbia crew treated the players with Champagne and a specially designed cake, and presented them with all kinds of gifts and memorabilia.

At the airport, the European Champions were greeted by the Secretary General of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia (OSSRB), Ivan Knezevic; the State Secretary for Sports, Predrag Perunicic; representatives of the OSSRB general sponsor, Banka Postanska Stedionica; the media; family members; and great great number of fans.

The main event was a reception hosted by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, also attended by OSSRB president Zoran Gajic who accompanied the secretary general, as well as the First Vice-President, Gyula Mester, the Technical Director Dragutin Cuk, and other high officials from sports, state departments and sponsors.

Captain Nemanja Petric presents Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic with an autographed shirt at a reception to honour the newly-crowned European champions.

"The whole Europe now knows that we are number one," said President Vucic, addressing the players. "What the state can do for you, is to start building the volleyball training complex next year. All the permissions are in order and we are one step away from making it happen. I expect that in April, 2020, we will start the works.

President Vucic also confirmed that the state will reward the players with €20,000 each, but also that they can count on a national pension when they turn 40 years of age.

To wrap up the day of celebrations, the players and staff of the Serbian national team climbed the steps to the balcony of City Hall, where traditionally athletes that excell internationally appear on the balcony as thousands of fans gather below to celebrate with them.

The celebrations continued into Tuesday evening at the Rajko Mitic Stadium, where players and staff, alongside OSSRB President Gajic, were applauded by the 50,000 fans gathered to watch the Red Star Belgrade v Olympiacos Piraeus UEFA Champions League football match.

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