WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER captain Lionel Messi almost got thrown off the back of an open-topped bus shortly after returning to Argentina.
Messi and four team-mates, including Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria, ducked under a high-voltage cable in seconds as they walked to the Argentine Football Federation’s training ground.
Thousands of adoring fans stayed up to greet the players after their plane landed around 2am local time on Tuesday after a 19-hour journey home.
Footage of their near miss with the cable showed Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo de Paul spotting it at the last minute and alerting his team-mates as he ducked just in time.
Loaned Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Paredes sat on the edge of the bus’s upper deck but managed to keep his balance despite having to squirm away as he was almost overhead.
He ducked just in time but lost his baseball cap when the cable hit his head, knocking him off.
Messi, clutching the World Cup trophy from his perched position in the middle of the group of five Argentina players, took the shock in stride and could be seen laughing at the shock.
An Argentinian journalist commenting on the scare said: “Paredes just lost his cap. What a moment. Be careful guys.”
The Argentine government today declared a national bank holiday to allow fans to attend the celebrations, where the players will later travel with the World Cup to Buenos Aires’ famous obelisk monument.
More than a million fans gathered around the iconic monument after Argentina’s thrilling penalty shoot-out win over France on Sunday.
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A specially prepared bus takes them from the AFA training ground to the Obelisk.
AFA confirmed in a tweet: “The world champion squad will head to the Obelisk at noon to celebrate the World Cup triumph with the fans.
“Yes… we are world champions.”
The tweet ended with a three-star sentiment – to reflect the fact that Argentina have now lifted the cup three times.
Many feared that captain Messi would resign after the World Cup – win or lose.
However, the 35-year-old has confirmed that he intends to continue playing for his country after a year and a half full of trophies.
Argentina’s trophy hunt began in the summer of 2021 when they won their first Copa America since 1993.
Messi had previously lost three finals in the tournament.
The Finalissima was then revived after 29 years.
It had only happened twice before, in 1985 and 1993.
Argentina won the 1993 edition of the one-off final between the European and South American champions by beating Denmark 5-4 on penalties.
But in the summer of 2022, Argentina destroyed Italy 3-0 at Wembley Stadium.
Messi then completed the set with a World Cup – a tournament in which he scored seven goals and assisted three.
He is the second most decorated player of all time with 42 trophies, just one title behind ex-Barcelona teammate Dani Alves.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6953151/messi-argentina-world-cup-heroes-street-cable-bus/ Messi and Argentina’s World Cup heroes are almost obliterated by a street cable in an open-top bus parade as millions celebrate