Lionel Messi was greeted as a hero by thousands of people when he returned to his hometown of Rosario after leading Argentina to World Cup glory.
The 35-year-old returned to his hometown for the first time since lifting the World Cup on Sunday on Tuesday evening, December 20, after being forced to evacuate Argentina’s winners’ parade earlier in the day due to safety concerns.
Following the parade, Messi was flown back by helicopter from Buenos Aires to Rosario – some 185 miles away – before he was pictured in a car driven by his wife Antonella Roccuzzo, as they headed home.
Upon his arrival, Messi was greeted by thousands of cheering fans chanting ‘Dale Campeon’ translating to ‘Let’s go champion’.
Security had pushed the ecstatic fans to one side to make room for his wife to drive the car through the middle and inside a building.
Messi was born in Rosario and began his football career with the city’s Newell’s Old Boys.
Messi and his family relocated to Barcelona in 2001 when he was 13-years-old and it was at the Spanish club he made his name as one of the greatest players in the world.
Lionel Messi left FC Barcelona in 2021 after winning ten La Liga titles, seven Copa Del Reys, four Champions Leagues, seven Spanish Super Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, and three Club World Cups.
He has won seven Ballon D’Or awards in total, six of which he won while playing for the Spanish club and one at his current club Paris Saint Germain after joining the club in 2021.