15.12.2014 11:25 h

Milito hails Racing 'dream' with new Argentine title

Diego Milito said it had been "a dream come true" to return to his first side Racing Club and help them to win their first Argentinian title for 13 years.

Racing beat Godoy Cruz 1-0 on the final day of the championship on Sunday to claim their eighth national crown and spark wild celebrations among their fans.

Milito, now 35, decided to return to his first side after leaving Inter Milan in June. The striker inspired Racing to win eight of their last nine games to take the crown ahead of Buenos Aires rivals River Plate, the title holders.

"This is a dream come true," said Milito amid the celebrations in which tens of thousands of Racing fans took to the streets of the capital, taking over the Obelisk monument which is the traditional rallying point for football commemorations.

"This is special, because I love this club. I started here and learned everything here. That allowed me to build my career," Milito added.

"I feel privileged. I am very proud of this group, to join this team has been fantastic," added the player known as 'The Prince'.

Milito spent five seasons at Inter and was a member of the team that won the Champions League, World Club Cup, Italian title and Italian Cup in 2010.

He was also a member of the Racing side that won the title in 2001 but he could not have imagined such a dramatic return to the club of his youth. Some fans are now demanding that a Milito statue be put up.

Despite being one of Argentina's big five clubs, along with River Plate, Boca Juniors, Independiente and San Lorenzo, Racing have had repeated troubles in recent decades.

Their glory days were in the 1960s. They beat Scotland's Celtic in a brutal Intercontinental Cup final in 1967 that needed a playoff in Montevideo. But they went bankrupt in 1999 and had to find new owners. They bounced back from that by winning the 2001 title, their first in 35 years.

Racing twice narrowly avoided relegation in recent years but reached the Argentina Cup final in 2012 in a sign of their resurgence.

Coach Diego Cocca has also only been at Racing for six months and made controversial decisions such as signing striker Gustavo Bou to partner Milito. Bou finished as the club's top scorer.

"I'm happy because we have made history," Cocca said. "At times it has cost a lot, but this team has balls on the big stage."

Cocca had infuriated fans when after losing a derby to fierce local rivals Independiente, he said: "I would rather lose to Independiente but win the title." In the end he was proved right.

Bou dedicated the victory to his recently deceased mother.

"Before she died she gave me advice so that I could celebrate today. I wish she was here today," Bou said.

Goalkeeper Sebastian Saja, who is known for his penalty spot goals, is another veteran who joined Racing after a decade in Europe.

"There are many emotions that we can only express now after a difficult six months and three difficult years," said Saja. "I told Cocca I could not leave here without leaving champion."