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

Argentine footballers have won the World Cup for the first time since 1986

Argentina’s World Cup winners had to forgo an open-top bus parade in Buenos Aires and instead take a helicopter ride above the millions of ecstatic fans celebrating in the streets.

The team showed off the trophy at the start of a planned eight-hour journey.

But the festivities on busy roads became more chaotic, forcing a rethink.

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

Videos on social media appeared to show fans jumping onto the top deck of the bus transporting the players at one point as it passed under a bridge, causing one fan to fall off.

The Argentine government declared Tuesday would be a national holiday in the South American country after Lionel Messi and his teammates 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 gather at Plaza de la República in Buenos Aires, where the World Cup winning team's bus parade will end later on Tuesday
Hundreds of thousands of Argentines had gathered at noon on Tuesday afternoon in the Plaza de la República in Buenos Aires

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

The journey would end at the capital’s iconic Obelisk monument, where hundreds of thousands had gathered later that day and created a festive atmosphere.

But security forces prevented the bus from continuing to Plaza de la República – the public square where the Obelisk stands – after the festivities became too chaotic.

“A thousand apologies on behalf of all champion players. [Such] too bad,” tweeted AFA president Chiqui Tapia.

Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez posted a selfie from the helicopter
Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez posted a selfie from the helicopter

With the majority of the jubilant fans wearing the national team’s blue and white colours, Plaza de la República was a sea of ​​color as they waited for the squad to arrive.

Captain Messi and the late Diego Maradona – another iconic Argentine player, captain of the 1986 World Cup champions and regarded as one of the greatest players ever – banners were held aloft as other fans played instruments or climbed lampposts.

Hundreds of fans lined the streets, many riding scooters and running behind the bus on a highway, as the parade made its way to the Argentine capital.

“It’s crazy, it’s incredible, it’s the best thing that can happen to you in life,” said 25-year-old Matias Gomez, one of those in attendance.

“It’s a huge joy to see all these happy people, all together, one with the other, holding hands, hugging, kissing. We are all one today.”

Paris St-Germain striker Messi, who captained the side and cemented his place for many as the greatest footballer ever by winning the World Cup, was in the middle of a group of the side on the top deck.

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

Argentina has been in celebration since Sunday’s dramatic penalty shootout victory against 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 La Albiceleste took their third crown in one of the biggest finals in the tournament’s history.

Argentina players - including captain Lionel Messi - celebrate with their adoring fans from an open-top bus during Tuesday's parade
The players danced and sang on top of the bus as it drove through the city
A helicopter had to bring the Argentinian players above Buenos Aires
But they had to see the rest of the celebrations from above after being transferred in helicopters by security
Argentina fans climb onto the roof of a bus at Plaza de la República in Buenos Aires as they waited for the team to arrive
Fans climbed atop a bus stop in Plaza de la República in Buenos Aires as they waited for the team’s scheduled arrival
Argentinian fans making music and dancing in Buenos Aires
The celebrations were accompanied by people playing musical instruments and encouraging others to dance
Argentinian fans wear a Lionel Messi flag draped over his shoulders
Almost everyone on the parade wore Argentina blue and white

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