Argentina’s World Cup winners were emotionally greeted by thousands on the streets of Buenos Aires as Lionel Messi led ecstatic celebrations in an open-top bus parade.
The team showed off the trophy, which they won by beating France in Sunday’s final, as they embarked on an eight-hour ride through the capital.
The Argentinian government declared a national holiday on Tuesday.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in front of the emblematic obelisk in Buenos Aires.
With the majority of cheering supporters wearing the national team’s blue and white, it’s a sea of color in the Plaza de la República – the public square where the obelisk stands – as they await the team where the parade is to take place. to end.
Banners were held up of captain Messi and the late Diego Maradona – another iconic Argentine player considered one of the greatest players of all time – while other fans played instruments or climbed on lampposts.
After returning home from Qatar in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the players left the Argentine Football Association (AFA) training complex for a 20-mile trip to central Buenos Aires at 11:45 a.m. local (14:45 GMT).
Hundreds of fans lined the streets – with many on scooters and running behind the bus on a freeway – as the parade made its way to Plaza de la República.
“It’s crazy, it’s amazing, it’s the best thing that can happen to you in life,” said Matias Gomez, 25, a steelworker.
“It’s a huge joy to see all these people happy, all together, with each other, holding hands, giving each other hugs, kisses. We are all one today.”
Paris St-Germain striker Messi, who captained the team and cemented his place for many as the greatest footballer of all time by winning the World Cup, sat in the middle of a group of the team on the upper deck.
Earlier Tuesday, he posted on Instagram showing him waking up alongside the trophy.
Argentina have been in party mode since Sunday’s dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over France in Qatar, which gave the country its first World Cup win since Maradona lifted the trophy 36 years ago.
Messi, 35, finally fulfilled his World Cup dream as the Albiceleste claimed their third crown in one of the greatest finals in tournament history.