A crowd receives the Argentine team after the World Cup

Thousands of fans waited until late at night to try to see the Argentine soccer team that won one of the most notable finals of the World Cup, before a day of celebrations in Buenos Aires.

Members of the team, led by their captain, Lionel Messi, were all smiles on Tuesday as they stepped off their plane in Ezeiza, just outside the Argentine capital, and walked down a red carpet that had been rolled out for them.

Messi was the first player to leave the plane with the World Cup trophy shortly before 3am, accompanied by coach Lionel Scaloni, who put his arm around the captain as they passed a sign reading “Thank you, champions”. .

The team was welcomed by the rock band La Mosca, who performed “Muchachos”, a song written by an amateur to the music of an old song by the group and which became the unofficial hymn for Argentine fans at the tournament. Qatar.

The newly crowned world champions boarded an open-top bus and several of them, including Messi, were seen singing “Muchachos” as they waited for everyone to board to head to the headquarters of the Argentine Football Association.

The bus moved at a snail’s pace as fans, many waving Argentinian flags, surrounded the bus on a highway eager to see the players, and security forces tried to control the crowd.

The players would sleep for a few hours at the AFA headquarters before returning to the bus later Tuesday in the direction of the Obelisco, the iconic Buenos Aires monument that was surrounded by a sea of ​​people on Sunday afternoon after the team won the third World Cup in Argentina, and the first since 1986.

President, Alberto Fernandezdeclared a national holiday on Tuesday so the country could celebrate the victory.

The day after the streets of Argentina became the scene of massive parties after Sunday’s victory, many were closely following the flight that brought the players home. As the flight approached Argentina, nearly 200,000 people followed its route online and news channels covered its arrival live.

People began to arrive in the afternoon at the airport and around the AFA headquarters with the hope of seeing their idols.

Many were already at the Obelisk, apparently willing to spend the night there to secure a privileged place in Tuesday’s celebrations.

Several players shared photos of the flight on social media.

Messi was holding the trophy on the plane. Nicolás Tagliafico shared a photo of the trophy in a seat, with the seat belt on like any other passenger.

As of early Tuesday there were no official plans for Fernández, or any other political leader, to participate in the festivities despite earlier rumors that the players would go to the government headquarters, which had offered for the celebrations, according to the Ministry of Security Anibal Fernandez.

The World Cup and the success of the team have brought much-needed happiness to a country that has been marked by economic problems for years, with one of the highest inflation rates in the world and where almost four out of 10 people live in poverty.

Fernández retweeted several congratulatory messages for the victory from other world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Thank you President Putin for this greeting,” Fernández wrote on Twitter after a phone call with the Russian leader. “May the joy that today unites Argentina with so many peoples of the world serve as an example: our societies need unity and peace.”

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