Millions of jubilant fans took to the streets on Tuesday to welcome the World Cup-winning Argentina team led by Lionel Messi, but most were disappointed when the open-top bus parade had to be canceled due to crowds. crowded, to replace a hastily organized helicopter tour.
Crowds of raving fans cheered for their heroes along every meter of the planned 30-kilometer parade route from the suburbs of Buenos Aires to the center of the capital – but that made progress very difficult. progress is extremely slow.
The bus traveled for nearly five hours as the crowd celebrated the team’s thrilling penalty shootout victory over France in the World Cup final, before deciding to trade the bus for a helicopter. .
Presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti said on Twitter: “It is not possible to continue on the ground due to the explosion of people’s joy.
That meant many fans, including the largest congregation at the iconic Obelisk monument in central Buenos Aires, which has been the focal point of sports celebrations for decades, didn’t to see their idols in the flesh.
“I’m a bit sad we couldn’t see them,” said Marta Acosta, 35, who arrived in town from a southern suburb at 5 a.m.
Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), blamed the police for the decision to cancel the victory parade.
Tapia wrote on Twitter: “They didn’t allow us to say hello to everyone in Obelisk.
“The security agencies that escorted us did not allow us to continue. Thousands of apologies on behalf of all champion players. What a shame.”
Masses of revelers donned blue and white national team shirts and hoisted flags singing, dancing and setting off fireworks throughout the day, with many camping out overnight to secure spots along the route parade.
But three hours after the parade, the bus had only traveled a third of the intended distance.
In the end, the car was abandoned.
Instead, Messi, coach Lionel Scaloni and midfielder Rodrigo De Paul took the World Cup trophy with him for a helicopter ride over the main parade sites, including the Obelisk, police said.
Messi and winger Angel Di Maria later boarded a private jet to their hometown of Rosario, accompanied by striker Paulo Dybala.
When Messi and Di Maria boarded another helicopter to take them to the private neighborhood where they own their own home, Dybala continued on to his hometown of Cordoba, an AFP photographer said.
Back in Buenos Aires, many people continued to celebrate, but for some fans, the interruption of the party was inevitable.
Roman Garcia, 38, told AFP: “Only people who don’t know what football means to the Argentine people would think that this cannot happen.
An estimated five to six million people were lined up along the parade route, a government source said.
Television footage showed two men trying to jump off the bridge onto the players’ bus. One succeeds but the other slips and falls into the crowd.
As the evening wore on, minor clashes broke out between fans – some were clearly intoxicated – and police moved in to evict a small group that had entered the area around Obelisk, reporters said. AFP witnessed.
People threw stones and fired rubber bullets. TN Network said 13 people were arrested and eight officers were injured in the melee.
Authorities did not immediately confirm those numbers. But city officials earlier said 16 people were hospitalized during the day.
The pinnacle of Messi’s glory
After returning home from Qatar in the early hours of the morning, the players took a short break at the Argentine Football Association’s training complex in the capital’s Ezeiza suburb.
Tuesday has been declared a public holiday for celebrations.
“The trophy that we won is also for all those who have not been able to win it in the previous World Cups that we have attended, such as Brazil 2014,” Messi said on social media, refers to the team that lost 0-1 to Germany in the 2014 World Cup, the title match eight years ago.
Argentina won the final in Qatar 4-2 on penalties after drawing 3-3 on a roller coaster to claim its first world championship in 36 years.
That allowed Messi, 35, to finally crown his career record with football’s biggest prize as he produced one of the greatest performances in World Cup finals, scoring a penalty in the first half and scored again in extra time.
In doing so, he imitated his predecessor the idol of Argentina, Diego Maradona, who inspired the country to win a second world championship with a series of victories in Mexico in 1986. .
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