- Argentina players were treated to a grand homecoming party after their World Cup win in December last year
- Lionel Messi and the rest of the players savoured the moment at the electric Monumental Stadium
- Lionel Scaloni's side then saw off Panama in an international friendly, with Messi among the goals
Lionel Messi led Argentina in playing as World Champions for the very first time when they entertained Panama in an international friendly at the Monumental Stadium on Friday morning.
The players and Head Coach Lionel Scaloni paraded the trophy to a vibrant crowd right before the crowd.
The rapturous celebration left Messi and a couple of other stars like Emi Martinez in tears as they relived what they achieved in December.
It was described as Messi's crowning moment as the 35-year-old finally laid his hands on the World Cup trophy after four failed attempts. Despite losing their opening game to minnows Saudi Arabia, the Albiceleste recovered and powered through all the way to the finals, where they dethroned France.
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Organisers put on a full spectacle for the players, as fans joined in with chants of 'Thank You Leo.' Messi's wife, Antonella Roccuzzo and their three sons were among the fans.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner left it until late to entertain the crowd. Messi stepped up in the 88th minute to score a beautiful freekick in what was his 800th goal in his career which is yet another milestone.
His goal added to Thiago Almada's strike 10 minutes earlier as Argentina began their reign as World Champions on a winning note.
Messi mobbed by fans in Argentina
Sports Brief had earlier reported that Lionel Messi was serenaded by love and chants from fans in his native home country of Argentina on his second return since the World Cup triumph last year.
Messi immortalised himself in Argentina's folklore after finally guiding the nation to winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar - their third since Diego Maradona's win in 1986 and victory in 1978.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner was often judged on his inability to win international trophies despite his stunning form at club level. However, he silenced the naysayers with three trophies in the span of one year under Lionel Scaloni.