Thibaud Hue with AFP 1:41 p.m., December 20, 2022

The soccer world champions arrived in Argentina on Tuesday, cheered by thousands of supporters who came near the airport.

The players immediately boarded a white double-decker bus, flocked with 3 stars and the "campeon del mundo", to go to rest at the nearby training center of the Argentine Football Federation (AFA).

The football world champions arrived on Argentine soil, cheered by thousands of supporters who came near the airport before an expected communion in the streets of Buenos Aires on Tuesday, declared a holiday.

Leo Messi, the captain and emblem of Argentina's success in Qatar was the first to appear at the top of the plane's flight deck stairs, brandishing the golden World Cup trophy, to win the red carpet rolled out on the tarmac at Ezeiza business airport.

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Players cheered on by thousands of supporters

The sky blue and white Airbus A330 of the Aerolineas Argentinas company bore the inscription "one team, one country, one dream" and on its rear wing are the drawings of Messi, Rodrigo de Paul, or Angel di Maria, the other hero of the final, author of the 2nd goal against France.

The players immediately boarded a white double-decker bus, flocked with 3 stars and the "campeon del mundo", to go to rest at the nearby training center of the Argentine Football Federation (AFA).

Along the way, the players were cheered on by several thousand supporters eager to be the first to salute the heroes of an entire people and finally see the golden trophy they had been hoping for for so many years.

"We're going to spend the night here"

In the afternoon, in groups, in families, with tents, camping chairs, parillas, drums - and of course balloons - they posted themselves on the broad shaded sides of the journey of about ten kilometers between the airport and the AFA.

"We're going to spend the night here. Tomorrow, we're not working. And we'll go to the Obelisk, directly following the (team of) Argentina," Ayrton Kerdocas, a 25-year-old student, told AFP. .

"I came because I would like Messi to sign me a photo. And there, it would be a crazy joy because I am a huge fan", wants to hope Javier Merina, a 41-year-old welder.

An impressive cordon of police, with a uniform deployed every 2-3 meters, guarded the perimeter wall of the AFA complex in case of overflow.

And many police officers were deployed to ensure a quick trip between the airport and AFA.

In 2021, when returning from the victorious Copa America campaign in Brazil, the bus had taken four hours to complete these few kilometers.

It was out of the question this time.


- "They are always in my heart": at Concorde, the Blues welcomed as heroes by the crowd

Meanwhile in Paris, it was the players of the French team, unfortunate heroes of the final, who were cheered by 50,000 supporters on the Place de la Concorde in Paris on their return from Qatar, in an atmosphere of fervor.

The players appeared on the balcony of the Hôtel Crillon to the cheers of the fans, mostly very young, who waved tricolor flags and chanted "Thank you Blues!"

and singing the Marseillaise or the Gala song "Freed from desire", which became the anthem of the Blues during the World Cup.

In Argentina, the climax is expected around midday for a large loop in downtown Buenos Aires, from the AFA, "to celebrate the world title with the supporters", announced in a tweet the "Seleccion".

bank holiday tuesday

The government declared this Tuesday a holiday, thus authorizing a gigantic crowd, which should once again happily exceed one million, to cheer the return of Scaloni's heroes.

On board the double-decker bus, the now Argentine "tri-campeones" will pass by the Obelisk, in the heart of the capital, the center of celebrations on Sunday after the title.

The road authority, Corredores Viales, has already made detour arrangements to secure the approximately 70 km of the loop that will be made, in anticipation of an inevitable rush.

Because among the million supporters who celebrated until late at night in Buenos Aires in an indescribable "alegria" the third world title, many were those resolved to welcome the heroes and prolong the celebration.

An unknown remained on their passage or not on the balcony of the Presidential Palace, the Casa Rosada.

Maradona in 1986 appeared there with the trophy.

An image that remains in the memories.

Many feel that Messi is still following in Maradona's footsteps and doing the same.

Because this third star for the Albiceleste, after those of the teams of Daniel Passarella (1978) then Diego Maradona (1986), bears the mark of Messi, named best player of the tournament.

The foreign press pays tribute to Messi

"Eternal Glory", "Thank you, Messi", "World Champions!"

or just "Thank you!"

headlined the Argentine dailies on Monday, many of which produced special editions.

The memory machine will start again for this day of excess as football is capable of creating in Argentina.

"I am here because of the passion for Argentina," said Alejandra Diaz, 55, who was waiting for the Albiceleste in the night near the AFA.

"I love Messi. I love the whole team. It's a huge emotion that's hard to explain (to be a football fan in Argentina). Your heart is racing. I think it's the only country who lives (football) this way, with this madness, this joy, and this happiness".