Fans draped in Argentina’s national flag, sang and danced as fireworks cracked after football legend Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to the FIFA World Cup glory on Sunday.
The country, that has suffered years of economic turmoil due to spiraling inflation, could not have asked for more last night as an estimated two million people converged at the iconic Argentina Monument Obelisk in central Buenos Aires to celebrate the moment.
A lot of what you’re seeing here is usually space for cars. Now it’s a place for people, for celebration. #Argentina fans at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires. Via IG/alepetra_ #WorldCupFinal #WorldCup #Messi pic.twitter.com/Xu6f6b6Q9I— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) December 19, 2022
Fireworks cracked and car horns sounded after millions of football fans assembled at the iconic monument to itch the historic moment of football in the history forever.
In-cre-i-ble a Buenos Aires.— Calcio Argentino™ (@CalcioArg) December 18, 2022
Manco avessero vinto un mondiale... 😄🥰 pic.twitter.com/xE30qD4RzL
As night fell, the Obelisk -- the traditional site for sporting celebrations -- was lit up as millions of people thronged the square and every street as far as the eye could see.
"This is happiness for everyone, for all these people. Today it was our turn and the joy is ours," said a fan while another said, “I can't believe it, I can't believe it," over and again before the final had even finished.
"Epic, this is epic, all of Argentine history is suffering like this," said a fan while another said, "We were born to suffer, that's how we Argentines are. But we keep going, that's the way the country is."
But "it's perfect, everything we've suffered has been worth it for this,” said another fan.
"I'm 35, I've been waiting 35 years for this moment in my life, I can't believe it, 35 years waiting for this dream," said another fan.
Que noche mágica Ciudad de Buenos Aires!!!!!!!! 🇦🇷❤️🇦🇷❤️🇦🇷❤️🇦🇷❤️🇦🇷❤️ pic.twitter.com/zAIGPIKYW3— Silvia Lospennato (@slospennato) December 18, 2022
"This team deserves everything. This is crazy, more than anyone Messi (deserves it) because he never gave up and tried so hard," said 23-year-old Martin Reina.
Finally, winning the World Cup final has been a much-needed exercise to forget the economic turmoil. Some 40 percent of the 45 million population lives in poverty while soaring inflation and currency devaluation have caused havoc with savings and disposable income.
Argentina "is going through an economic rollercoaster where it's always hard to make ends meet at the end of the month. This was a much needed moment," wrote another fan.
(With inputs from Agence France-Presse)