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Messi, others forced to abandon open-top bus parade

Argentina’s World Cup winning squad had to abandon an open-top bus parade in Buenos Aires and instead took a helicopter ride over the millions of ecstatic fans partying in the streets.

The squad showed off the trophy at the start of a planned eight-hour journey.

But the celebrations on packed roads became more chaotic, forcing a rethink.

The Argentine government declared Tuesday would be a national holiday in the South American country after Lionel Messi and his team-mates beat France in Sunday’s final.

About four million people lined the streets of Buenos Aires, according to local estimates.

After arriving home from Qatar in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the players left the Argentine Football Association (AFA) training complex on a 20-mile journey to the centre of Buenos Aires.

The journey was supposed to finish at the capital city’s iconic Obelisk monument, where hundreds of thousands had gathered and created a party atmosphere, later that day.

But security forces would not let the bus continue to Plaza de la República the public square where the Obelisk stands after some of the celebrations became too chaotic.

Hundreds of fans lined the streets, with many riding scooters and running behind the bus on a motorway, as the parade made its way towards the Argentine capital.

Argentina has been in party mode since Sunday’s dramatic penalty shootout win against France in Qatar, which gave the country its first World Cup win since Maradona lifted the trophy 36 years ago.

35-year-old-Messi finally achieved his World Cup dream as La Albiceleste won their third crown in one of the greatest finals in the tournament’s history.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas