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Chopper over bus ride for Argentina players

Updated on: 22 December,2022 08:22 AM IST  |  Buenos Aires

Fans disappointed as Argentina players abandon road journey and fly over city in helicopter

Chopper over bus ride for Argentina players

Fans gather in large numbers in Buenos Aires to celebrate Argentina’s victory in the recently concluded FIFA World Cup. Pics/Getty Images

Millions of jubilant fans turned out on Tuesday to welcome home Argentina’s World Cup winners led by Lionel Messi, but most were left disappointed when an open-top bus parade had to be abandoned due to the massive crowds, in favour of a hastily organized helicopter tour. 

Vast crowds of ecstatic fans cheered on their heroes along every meter of the planned 30-kilometer parade route from a Buenos Aires suburb to the center of the capital—but that made for interminably slow progress. The bus had crawled along for almost five hours as the throng celebrated the team’s thrilling penalty shoot-out victory over France in the World Cup final, before the decision was made to trade the bus for a chopper. 

Iconic Obelisk misses out

“It was impossible to continue on the ground due to the explosion of popular joy,” presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti said on Twitter. It meant that many fans, including the largest congregation at the iconic Obelisk monument in central Buenos Aires that has for decades been the epicenter of sporting celebrations, did not get to see their idols in the flesh. 

The helicopter carrying the Argentina playersThe helicopter carrying the Argentina players

Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), blamed police for the decision to abandon the victory parade. “They are not allowing us to go and greet all the people at the Obelisk,” said Tapia on Twitter. “The same security agencies that escorted us are not allowing us to continue. Thousands of apologies in the name of all the champion players. It’s a shame.”

Hordes of revelers wearing the national team’s blue and white replica shirts and draped in flags sang, danced and set off fireworks throughout the day. But three hours into the procession, the bus had barely covered a third of the planned path. Eventually, the vehicle was ditched. 

Instead, Messi, coach Lionel Scaloni and midfielder Rodrigo De Paul took the World Cup trophy with them for a helicopter ride over the main parade sites, including the Obelisk, police said. 

Helicopter and then home

Messi and winger Angel Di Maria then took a private plane to their hometown of Rosario, alongside forward Paulo Dybala. As Messi and Di Maria boarded another helicopter to take them to the private neighbourhood where they own homes, Dybala continued on to his hometown of Cordoba, an AFP photographer said. Back in Buenos Aires, many continued to celebrate but for some fans, the short-circuiting of the party was inevitable.

Also Read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Argentina team get heroic welcome back home

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