Lionel Messi thanks the people of Argentina after Panama win
‘I have always dreamed of this moment’: Lionel Messi delivers emotional speech thanking the people of Argentina as the Albiceleste celebrate their World Cup win on home soil… after scoring his 800TH career goal in friendly match against Panama
- The iconic No 10 thanked fans and urged them to ‘enjoy’ the team’s victories
- The entire team received World Cup trophies in front of a packed-out crowd
- Messi thanked God for the ‘reward’ for the struggles that had come before
Lionel Messi capped an emotional homecoming at Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires with a passionate speech thanking the team and the people of Argentina for helping him achieve his ‘dream’.
His words came after he scored his 800th career goal to beat Panama 2-0 in an international friendly for the Albiceleste, as the team celebrated their World Cup win in front of the home crowd.
Standing in front of the World Cup trophy, the Argentine legend was ringed by his players, each standing behind their own replicas of the gleaming ornament.
Against the roar of the crowd, Messi shared that he had ‘dreamed’ of celebrating in his home country.
‘I want to thank you for all the love we have been receiving, not only for being world champions, but also for the Copa America beforehand. We had said that we were going to do everything possible for this,’ the Paris Saint-Germain star began.
Lionel Messi thanked the fans for the ‘love’ they have shown Argentina in their journey towards winning the 2022 World Cup
The entire team received their trophies in front of a packed home crowd in Buenos Aires
The former Barcelona man said that he suffered deeply before winning the World Cup
‘I have always personally dreamed of this moment, to be able to celebrate with you, to come to my country, to Argentina, to life a Cope America, the Finalissima, and the greatest thing, which is the World Cup.’
Messi paid tribute to all the players that had worn Argentina’s iconic sky-blue-and-white-striped jersey in the country’s footballing history.
‘I know it’s our day, where the champions are celebrating, but I don’t want to forget all the team-mates who were there before, who also did everything possible to achieve this [as] we were very close [to] the Copa America and the World Cup.
‘They deserve all the recognition of the Argentine people, because they also gave up everything for this shirt.’
The former Barcelona icon implored the crowd and his team to ‘enjoy’ their moment in the sun, as ‘we don’t know how long it will take for it to happen again.
The national hero showed of the World Cup trophy to the fans after telling them to ‘enjoy it’
The Argentina captain was reunited with a trophy he first hoisted aloft in Qatar (pictured)
In July 2021, the Albiceleste beat Brazil to win the Copa America for the 15th time
That booked their ticket to the Finalissima, which saw Argentina beat Euro 2020 winners Italy
‘Hopefully it won’t take so many years!’ Messi joked.
‘It has been shown that it is very difficult to win the World Cup, it depends on many things, not just of a great group and a great team and sometimes due to details it cannot be achieved, so let’s enjoy the third star.’
Messi cemented his status as national hero after leading his country to victory in Qatar in December 2022, and can scarcely reveal his presence in Argentina without attracting huge crowds of fans.
A recent family dinner ended with the No 10 being escorted through an enormous throng of fans by local police after word spread that the star was in the area.
Speaking to TyC Sports after thanking the fans, Messi was grateful for the ‘beautiful’ opportunity to share the team’s success with their compatriots.
‘It was beautiful. We knew it was going to be that way, that it was a unique moment and that it will remain unforgettable for us, for the many people who were left out, who could not come [to Qatar].
‘The love of the people always makes me happy, coming to Argentina and receiving all that, it had [happened] for a long time before, but now being champion of the world, it is obviously different, and much more.
‘It’s kind of hard to explain what that [feels like].’
The No 10’s 800th goal was a pearler of a free-kick at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires
Messi soaked up the appreciation from the crowd upon achieving this milestone figure
The Argentine is now just 34 goals behind the all-time record goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo
Messi conceded that the rush of winning the World Cup could be overwhelming and that he had urged his team-mates to give themselves credit and take their achievement seriously ‘as time passes’.
The reward was all the greater, Messi finished, because of past frustrations.
‘The whole journey is always there, what we did. We suffered a lot, speaking personally, I suffered a lot. It was not easy.
‘I remember coming to play in Argentina and having a hard time because things didn’t work out, thinking often about the lost finals.
‘[But] God is the one in charge, the one who chooses the moments, and it had to happen that way.’
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