February 8, 2023

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World Cup 2022: Argentina leaves bus parade in Buenos Aires amid jubilant scenes

Argentine players dance and sing on the bus roof during their victory parade in Buenos AiresArgentina’s footballers have won the World Cup for the first time since 1986

The Argentine world champions had to forgo an open-top bus parade in Buenos Aires and instead took a helicopter ride over the millions of adoring fans who took to the streets to celebrate.

The crew displayed the trophy at the start of a planned eight-hour journey.

But the celebrations on crowded streets became more chaotic and forced a rethink.

“Due to the explosion of joy, it was impossible to continue on the ground,” tweeted presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti.

Argentina’s government declared Tuesday a national holiday in the South American country after Lionel Messi and his team-mates defeated France in Sunday’s final.

According to local estimates, about four million people lined the streets of Buenos Aires.

Hundreds of thousands of Argentines crowd the Plaza de la República in Buenos Aires, where the World Cup team's bus parade will end later on TuesdayHundreds of thousands of Argentines gathered in the Plaza de la República in Buenos Aires on Tuesday afternoon

After returning home from Qatar in the early hours of Tuesday, the players left the Argentine Football Association (AFA) training complex at 11:45 a.m. local time (14:45 GMT) and made the 20-mile journey to central Buenos Aires .

The trip was due to end later in the day at the capital’s iconic Obelisk monument, where hundreds of thousands had gathered and created a party atmosphere.

But security forces blocked the bus from going to Plaza de la República – the public square where the obelisk stands – after the celebrations got too chaotic.

“Thousands of apologies on behalf of all Champions players. [Such] Too bad,” tweeted AFA President Chiqui Tapia.

A video on social media showed a fan jumping onto the top deck of a bus as it passed under a bridge.

Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez posted a selfie from the helicopterArgentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez posted a selfie from the helicopter

With the majority of the cheering fans wearing the national team’s blue and white colors, it was a riot of color in the Plaza de la República as they waited for the team.

Banners of captain Messi and the late Diego Maradona – another legendary Argentine player, captain of the 1986 World Cup winner and considered one of the greatest players of all time – were held up while other fans played instruments or climbed lampposts.

Hundreds of fans lined the streets, many riding scooters and running after buses down a highway as the parade made its way to Plaza de la República.

“It’s crazy, it’s incredible, it’s the best thing that can happen in life,” said Matias Gomez, 25, a metal worker.

“It’s a tremendous joy to see all these happy people, all together, with each other, holding hands, hugging, kissing. 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 title, sat amidst a group of the squad on the top deck.

Earlier Tuesday, he posted on Instagram waking up next to the trophy.

Argentina have been in party mode since Sunday’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over France in Qatar, which gave the country their first World Cup win since Maradona lifted the trophy 36 years ago.

Messi, 35, has finally achieved his World Cup dream as La Albiceleste lifted their third crown in one of the greatest finals in the tournament’s history.

Argentina's players - including captain Lionel Messi - celebrate with their adoring fans on an open-top bus during Tuesday's paradePlayers danced and sang on the roof of the bus as it moved through the cityA helicopter had to bring the Argentinian players over Buenos AiresBut they got to see the rest of the celebrations from above after being flown into helicopters by security forcesArgentina fans climb onto a bus roof in Buenos Aires' Plaza de la República while waiting for the team's arrivalFans climbed onto a bus stop in Buenos Aires’ Plaza de la República while awaiting the team’s scheduled arrivalArgentina fans play music and dance in Buenos AiresThe celebrations were accompanied by people playing musical instruments and encouraging others to danceArgentina fans carry a Lionel Messi flag over his shouldersAlmost everyone at the parade wore Argentine blue and whiteBBC Sport App Banner

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