Hundreds of thousands people welcomed the champions in Buenos Aires as Lionel Messi-led Argentinean team flew back home early Tuesday back home from Qatar after a successful campaign that saw the South American football-crazy nation ending a 36-year drought.
But it is just the beginning as the winning squad will later on Tuesday afternoon parade through the capital.
Argentina’s flight home was due to land at 2:17am local time, but it did not stop the fans lining the streets around the airport. Meanwhile, at one point, over 176,000 people were following the plane on a tracking app in the middle of the night.
When they touched down on the tarmac a bus with the words “World Champions”, three stars to signify Argentina’s third trophy, and images of the players celebrating was waiting for them.
The first to come out of the plane was Messi followed closely by AFA (Argentinian Football Association) President Chiqui Tapia and manager Lionel Scaloni.
Soon after, the Argentinian players proceeded to board an open-top bus, which took them on a short drive to the AFA headquarters, where they will rest for a few hours before the big parade that awaits them on Tuesday.
La Scaloneta, the team’s nickname (affectionately named after their head coach) will due a lengthy tour in the early afternoon after Tuesday was declared a holiday for the government.
During the parade route, they will cover the route on open-top bus throughout Buenos Aires before looping back and finishing at the AFA headquarters.
Social media footage from the plane itself showed clearly that the party mood was not diminishing amid tiredness. Striker Lautaro Martinez was seen playing a giant drum while midfielder Enzo Fernandez accompanied him on a shaker to sing a song about the country’s footballing pedigree.