Argentina’s euphoric World Cup celebrations descended into chaos yesterday as violence broke out on the streets of Buenos Aires between fans and riot police after their star players were forced to evacuate to safety by helicopter.
Officers armed with shields and batons were pelted with missiles at the Obelisco monument in the country’s capital hours after fans tried to jump into the bus during the victory parade to meet Lionel Messi and his teammates.
The World Cup heroes were met with a heaving crowd of an estimated five million fans who blocked their path to the Obelisco, then had to abandon the route and escape in helicopters.
At one moment when the bus passed under a bridge, one fan jumped down into the bus and another fell down into the throngs gathered on the streets below.
Police form a phalanx during clashes with fans by the Obelisco in Buenos Aires last night amid chaotic celebrations
Another fan also died in hospital on Monday after falling through a roof while celebrating the famous victory
There are also fears over a five-year-old boy that is in a coma after sustaining a serious head injury following an incident in Plaza San Martin when a piece of marble fell from a monument during the celebrations.
In unsavoury scenes, supporters burned plaques of France star Kylian Mbappé and hoisted bodybags above the crowd with his face on as delirious fans celebrated their country’s third World Cup victory, the first since 1986.
Presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti wrote on Twitter: ‘The world champions are flying over the entire route in helicopters because it became impossible to continue on land due to the explosion of joy.’
After flying over key points of Buenos Aires where fans had gathered, the helicopters returned to the headquarters of the Argentine Football Association outside the capital.
Argentine fans fill the city of Buenos Aires to celebrate the World Cup victory as the stars returned home
Riot police fires a shotgun as they clear remaining fans who waited hours for a homecoming parade
One man is detained as police cleared the city centre, with tensions high calling off the parade
In unsavoury scenes, supporters burned plaques of France star Kylian Mbappé and hoisted bodybags above the crowd with his face on
Riot police clashed with angry football fans at the conclusion of the homecoming parade
Some fans threw bottles and other objects at police officers as they clashed with security forces
An open-top bus parade had to be abandoned due to the massive crowds as riot police were deployed
Riot police stand guard during clashes with fans of Argentina following the team’s homecoming celebrations
Some fans continued celebrating in the streets, while others headed out of Buenos Aires with long faces, complaining they were unable to pay their respects to the team that brought home the country’s first World Cup trophy since 1986.
One woman even stripped completely naked in the streets of the capital as wild fervour gripped the nation.
‘We’re angry because the government didn’t organize this properly so we could all celebrate,’ said Diego Benavídez, 25, who had been waiting since early morning to see the team. ‘They stole the World Cup from us.’
Football association head Claudio Tapia blamed law enforcement for the changeup of plans.
‘The same security organisms that were escorting us are not allowing us to move forward,’ Tapia wrote on social media. ‘I apologize in the name of all the champion players.’
By around midday millions had already congregated in downtown Buenos Aires, with major roads shut down for the parade.
Officers armed with shields and batons were pelted with missiles at the Obelisco monument in the country’s capital
Riot police stand in formation at the Obelisco monument as litter is strewn around the squre
Toward nightfall, when most of the fans had already poured out of downtown Buenos Aires, there were isolated clashes between a few stragglers and law enforcement
The incidents began when firefighters went to the Obelisco to evict people who had broken their way inside the monument
Riot police stand guard after clashes with fans of Argentina in Buenos Aires yesterday
People held up banners of Messi and late icon Diego Maradona, played instruments or climbed lamp-posts or bus stops.
Toward nightfall, when most of the fans had already poured out of downtown Buenos Aires, there were isolated clashes between a few stragglers and law enforcement.
At least eight people were injured, according to local media reports.
The incidents began when firefighters went to the Obelisco to evict people who had broken their way inside the monument.
‘This is madness, it’s indescribable,’ said Brian Andreassi, 23, as he walked downtown wearing the team’s jersey. ‘There are no words.’
Celebrating fans took over highways, avenues and the access routes into the capital as temperatures climbed to 86F.
A fan has died celebrating Argentina’s historic World Cup win over France on Sunday night
Supporters threw themselves from the bridge as the celebrating players showed the World Cup trophies to the huge crowds in Buenos Aires on Tuesday
Riot police stand in formation in Buenos Aires following the end of the huge parade in the city
Tuesday’s parade turned ugly and players were evacuated in helicopters when it was cut short
Fans tried to climb down from a bridge onto the open-top bus, with one landing in the bus and another falling several feet into the crowd below
The team rode in the open-top bus through vast crowds of wild fans after returning home
A staggering number of fans surrounded the bus as it made its way trough Buenos Aires
Team captain and footballing legend Lionel Messi waves to the gathered crowds from the bus
Enormous crowds gathered around the Obelisk Monument in Buenos Aires to welcome the Argentinian team home
The World Cup-winning Argentina team parade through the country’s capital through the throngs of fans before they were forced to stop
The players circle over the crowds in a helicopter after they were forced to abandon their journey on the ground
Fans appeared to hijack a police car after climbing on top of the vehicle during the wild celebrations
Wild scenes played out across Buenos Aires throughout the day as fans celebrate their team’s World Cup win
The city’s streets are packed with tens of thousands of jubilant fans to celebrate the team’s World Cup victory
Argentina’s players are travelling through the streets of Buenos Aires in an open-top parade
Millions of jubilant supporters had gathered at the Obelisk monument for the celebration
Argentina fans were hoping to catch a glimpse of their World Cup-winning heroes in the capital
The parade around the Argentinian capital was expected to last for around eight hours
The World Cup and the success of the Messi-led squad brought much-needed good news for a country stuck for years in economic doldrums and suffering one of the world’s highest inflation rates, with nearly 4-in-10 people living in poverty.
‘There’s an immense union among all Argentines – unity, happiness. It’s as if you can breathe another air, there’s another energy in the air,’ said Victoria Roldán. ‘My body and heart are about to burst.’
Carrying a World Cup replica, the 32-year-old and her 36-year-old sister, Mariana, were eager to catch a glimpse of the team and in particular its captain, Messi.
‘We’re dying to see him,’ Roldán said. ‘Seeing him with that immense smile, with those bright eyes filled with hope, it really fills our heart with joy and happiness. … I think that Leo has deserved it for years, and this was his moment.’
The players were all smiles as they watched the multitudes hostling to get as close as possible to the bus. An estimated 4 million people were in the streets by Tuesday afternoon, according to local media citing police sources.
‘I celebrate the way the people took to the streets to honor our squad,’ President Alberto Fernández wrote on social media after the parade was cut short.
Thousands had set up camp since early Tuesday morning at the Obelisk.
The Argentine president declared a national holiday Tuesday so the country could celebrate the World Cup victory.
Argentina were given a hero’s welcome after returning home from Qatar as world champions
The Argentinian squad landed in Argentina in the early hours of Tuesday morning
Argentina’s players celebrated on an open-top bus after landing at Buenos Aires airport
Fans lined the streets near to the airport to welcome home Argentina’s World Cup winners
Thousands of fans greeted Argentina’s arrival back in Buenos Aires after winning the World Cup
Lionel Messi and Argentina returned as heroes as they landed at Ezeiza International Airport
Captain Messi cradled the World Cup trophy as the Argentines returned home after their win
Manager Lionel Scaloni (right) wrapped his arm around the superstar as they greeted fans
Argentina won the third World Cup in their history with a 4-2 win on penalties against France
Millions of excited fans greeted the Argentinian team’s arrival back home in Buenos Aires
The song ‘Muchachos,’ which was written by a fan and became a popular unofficial anthem for the Argentine team at the World Cup, filled the streets as fans joined in singing it over and over again.
Some fans also paid tribute to Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, the captain of the 1986 squad that won the World Cup and who died two years ago, with flags bearing his name and face. ‘This is for Diego, who’s seeing it from heaven,’ fans chanted.
‘This is a party. The last time Argentina was a champion I was 3 years old, I don’t remember anything,’ said Yael Torchinsky, 39. ‘I want to live this intensely because the Argentine people need this happiness.’
By mid-afternoon, fans started filling up Plaza de Mayo in front of Government House, amid rumors the players might go there for a reprise of the festivities for Argentina’s 1986 World Cup victory that were held there.
Fernández’s administration had offered the palatial mansion, popularly known as the Casa Rosada, or Pink House, according to Security Minister Aníbal Fernández.
The head coach and talisman were the first to emerge from the aircraft, waving in greeting
Messi still clutched his glittering prize as he joined his team-mates atop the champions’ bus
Captain Messi holds the World Cup trophy on the bus after the team landed back in Argentina
Argentina were set to parade with the trophy through Buenos Aires to the Obelisk on Tuesday
The raucous welcome for the team began before dawn as thousands of fans lined up upon their return from Qatar.
The players were beaming as they descended from their plane in Ezeiza, outside Argentina’s capital, shortly before 3 a.m. onto a red carpet. Messi was the first one out, carrying the World Cup trophy, flanked by coach Lionel Scaloni, who put his arm around the captain as they walked past a sign that read, ‘Thank you, champions.’
The team was welcomed by rock band La Mosca singing ‘Muchachos,’ and several players, including Messi, could be seen singing the words as they boarded the bus taking them to the Argentine Football Association headquarters.
It took the bus an hour to travel the 6.8 miles from the airport to AFA headquarters, where the players were welcomed with fireworks, and then spent the night.
In the morning, Messi posted a photo on social media showing him hugging the World Cup trophy next to him while he slept.