The streets of Buenos Aires were filled with millions of people, from downtown to the highway, as they hoped to catch a glimpse of Argentina’s World Cup heroes.
Fans began pouring into the main streets around the iconic Obelisk monument around 5 a.m. local time on Tuesday morning.
Some had even camped overnight to secure a spot where they hoped to get the best view of Lionel Messi and his fellow world champions aboard an open-top bus.
Buenos Aires, however, quickly descended into excited chaos, with an estimated four million fans descending on the Argentine capital.
This eventually meant the team was moved from the bus to helicopters due to security concerns around the crowd.
The helicopters then flew over the city in what the government described as a flypast.
Two women told me that it was not only an important day for football but also for the country.
Another man simply said to me, “Just look at my people, look at my country.”
He was so proud to show off his football shirt with Maradona, the name of the Argentine football icon and 1986 World Cup winner, written on the back.
The Argentina team returns home to an ecstatic welcome
In pictures: Argentina celebrates
World Cup heroes fly over huge crowds after bus parade canceled
Standing in the crowd outside, a young man, after the parade was changed to a helicopter flyover, said to me: “I feel good and bad. Good because we are world champions but it was my dream to see Messi – but it is what it is.
“I’m a bit disappointed with the government because it was pretty obvious to me that it was going to happen. Let’s hope they organize something else.”
It’s over 30°C today and people will be staying in the city until the wee hours of the morning to celebrate the team and a sport so deeply rooted in their identity.