MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish newspapers mourned the end of the country's soccer dynasty after the champions' stunning exit from the World Cup in Brazil though front pages on Thursday were more focused on a new reign - of King Felipe VI.
Champions Spain lost 2-0 to Chile on Wednesday, their glory days consigned to history books on the same day that King Juan Carlos signed his abdication papers, handing over to his heir Felipe who will be sworn in on Thursday.
Spain's main newspapers, which had splashed headlines about the team's shock 5-1 demolition to Netherlands last week across their front pages, bemoaned the second 'debacle' but mostly relegated the news to inside pages on Thursday.
"The Spanish soccer team that has been the most deserving of a royal farewell ended its fairy tale in an atrocious way, in a world fiasco," Spain's leading newspaper El Pais said.
The undisputed kings of global football in the last six years, Spain won the 2008 and 2012 European Championships and their first World Cup in South Africa. But their supremacy is no more and an ageing team needs to be rebuilt.
"Crash! The end of a unique generation," sports newspaper Marca said.
Spain became the third champions in the last four World Cups to be eliminated at the first hurdle and their departure will almost certainly end the long international careers of their greats Xavi, Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso.
"It was nice while it lasted," sports newspaper AS said.
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski, editing by Sudipto Ganguly)