Messi wave Argentina parade GFXGetty / GOAL

WATCH: Messi & Argentina World Cup heroes forced to take helicopter away from Buenos Aires celebration

  • Argentina crowned World Champions in Qatar
  • Took part in a bus parade to celebrate with the fans
  • Left via helicopter before finishing parade

WHAT HAPPENED? After being crowned champions of the World with a penalty shootout victory over France in the Qatar final, the Argentina squad returned to their homeland in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and were greeted by thousands of enthusiastic fans at the airport. Messi was the first one to emerge from the flight with the World Cup trophy in his hands, the only title that had eluded him in his illustrious career.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Argentine government has announced a public holiday to celebrate the victory, saying in a statement: "On December 18, 2022, the Argentine National Team representing this country has won the World Cup held in Qatar. That by virtue of the foregoing, it is appropriate to declare December 20, 2022 a national holiday so that the Argentine people can express their deepest satisfaction with the national team, and speak out in favour of sport and the homeland."

WHAT NEXT? Messi and Co made their way straight onto an open-top bus after touching down in Buenos Aires, and subsequently showed off their World Cup prize to their adoring fans as they made their way through the streets of the Argentine capital. As many as four million people are believed to have turned out to greet them, forcing the bus to be re-routed with roads and motorways packed and eventually prompting a helicopter exit.

Their journey was due to end at the Obelisco, the iconic national monument of Buenos Aires, but they couldn't get that far because of the swelling crowd.