Messi in Tears From Warm Welcome by Argentina Fans
Lionel Messi was brought to tears by the sheer passion of Argentina's football fans, as the World Cup champions returned to play at home for the first time since their triumphant victory in Qatar.
The celebrations in Buenos Aires were wild, as fans poured out onto the streets in the early hours of the morning to celebrate the historic win. And when the team returned from Qatar, they were greeted by an impromptu parade before the official event even began.
Despite initial rumors that he might retire from international football, Messi has decided to continue playing for Argentina, and he was back in his home country on Thursday night to play a friendly match against Panama.
Adoration in the Stadium
The atmosphere in the stadium was electric, with the fans singing an incredibly moving version of the national anthem and fireworks lighting up the sky. And when Messi took to the field as captain, he was visibly moved by the outpouring of emotion from the crowd.
Fans took to social media to express their awe at the momentous occasion. "Sheer Goosebumps moment!" wrote one. "The most amazing scenes on Earth in Buenos Aires," said another. "There are no words, just football," a third summed up perfectly.
Among those in the stands were Messi's partner Antonella Roccuzzo and their children. And TV news channels showed live pictures of the players arriving at the stadium for the match, accompanied by a police escort.
An Energized Argentina
The team did not disappoint their adoring fans, as they put in a dominant performance against a plucky Panama side. Despite having numerous chances to score, it took until the 79th minute for Argentina to break the deadlock. Thiago Almada, playing for Atlanta United, was the man to score the historic goal, firing in from close range after Messi's free-kick hit the post.
The fans erupted into a frenzy at the sight of the ball hitting the back of the net. Celebrations only intensified when Messi doubled the lead in the 89th minute. The Barcelona superstar stepped up to take a free-kick and curled the ball expertly into the top corner of the net. It was his 99th goal for Argentina and his 800th career goal, a remarkable achievement that will go down in history.
After the Match
The win was especially emotional for Messi, who fought back tears as he addressed the fans after the game. "I always dreamed of this moment, to celebrate with you in my country Argentina, lifting the greatest thing that is the World Cup," he said. "Let's keep doing what we are doing and enjoy this because we have been waiting a long time to win it again. Let's enjoy the third star."
After the match, the players were joined by their loved ones on the pitch to celebrate their World Cup glory with their adoring fans. Messi was lifted into the air, and photos were taken with replica World Cup trophies.
For Messi and the rest of the World Cup-winning squad, this was a moment they will never forget.
Especially since his fan community has always shown their love for him if his ambush outside a restaurant was anything to go by.