Thousands lined up in the middle of the night in Buenos Aires to welcome Argentina’s world champions home.
Lionel Messi was all smiles as he stepped off the plane, proudly lifting the iconic gold World Cup trophy.
Coach Lionel Scaloni put his arm around the superstar as they passed a sign that read ‘Thank you, Masters’.
A red carpet had been rolled out for the squad as local rock band La Mosca played Muchachos – a song that became Argentina’s unofficial anthem during the tournament.
Today will be celebrated across the South American country, with President Alberto Fernandez declaring it a national holiday.
The world champions walked from the plane to an open-top bus waiting to take them to the headquarters of the Argentine Football Association.
It moved at a snail’s pace as fans waving Argentine flags swarmed towards it.
Messi and the players slept in the AFA headquarters for a few hours, but they will soon board the bus again to take them to the famous landmark of Buenos Aires, the Obelisk.
The monument saw a sea of people rejoicing in Argentina’s first World Cup victory since 1986 on Sunday.
The celebrations continued into the next day, with street parties across the country.
Around 200,000 people followed the team’s flight online to see when it would arrive in the capital.
The World Cup has brought much-needed good news to a country suffering from one of the world’s highest inflation rates, and where almost four out of 10 people live in poverty.
President Fernandez retweeted several messages of congratulations from other world leaders, including Vladimir Putin.
“Thank you for this greeting to President Putin,” Fernandez wrote on Twitter after a phone call with the Russian leader.
‘Let the happiness that today unites Argentina with so many countries in the world serve as an example: our societies need unity and peace.’
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