Today was finally the day all Argentines have been eagerly waiting for. Lionel Messi was set to lift the World Cup trophy in front of a fully packed home crowd at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.
After Lionel Messi and his Argentines squad marched in a victory parade following the South American side’s world cup triumph. This was the first time the champions returned to their homeland since the parade.
And boy oh boy did they get a welcome back from the locals! Argentina were set to play against Panama in an international friendly, and the stadium, with a capacity of over 83,000 people, was fully packed with passionate Argentines football fans.
The energy and passion of the Buenos Aires crowd was unbelievable. As seen in a recent video clip, the crowd greeted their World Cup heroes with fireworks and energetic victory chants.
As they were singing the national anthem, some players got quite emotional, particularly Lionel Messi, Emiliano Martinez, and coach Lionel Scaloni, who were spotted with tearful eyes.
Lionel Messi in tears 😢
What a moment as Argentina welcomes back its World Cup winners. pic.twitter.com/Pn9lHAw7uV
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) March 23, 2023
Lionel Messi, following his homecoming, has received the warmest of welcomes from the locals. Fans mobbed him as he was eating dinner in a restaurant, and he was spotted cruising at the motorway as well.
How did Lionel Messi and Argentina play against Panama?
The crowd’s passion and energy only drove the team forward. In the first half, the World Champions couldn’t manage to find the back of the net thanks to the heroics of Panama goalkeeper Jose Guerra.
The Argentinians managed to break through in the late minutes of the second half. After taking the lead with Thiago Almada’s goal in the 78th minute, Lionel Messi doubled the lead in the 89th minute from a spot kick that was shot at a perfect angle. Guerra got the direction correct, but had no chance of stopping the perfectly taken free kick.
With this goal, Lionel Messi, the little magician reached a career milestone, as he scored his 800th career goal for club and country today. This particular milestone solidifies his place in the debate of the “greatest of all time.”
LIONEL MESSI SCORES HIS 800th CAREER GOAL FOR CLUB & COUNTRY! 🐐 pic.twitter.com/NhsW53Y2ou
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 24, 2023
With such warm greetings, and the fact that Messi’s contract with PSG is soon coming to an end, the seven times Ballon d’Or winner is sure to consider playing for a club in his home country next season.