There were so many people in Buenos Aires to celebrate Lionel Messi and the Argentina national team winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup that players had to leave the bus parade celebration via helicopter.
With a crowd estimated to be as large as 5 million, authorities canceled the parade early over security concerns, according to James Grainger of the Buenos Aires Times.
Grainger added that the number of people attending the parade "made it impossible at times for the open-top bus carrying the players and coaching staff to even advance on the capital."
Portions of the parade route were completely blocked off with fans, which forced changes to be made to the route. Additionally, some fans attempted to jump onto the team's bus, and at least 18 people are reported to have injuries, according to Grainger.
The team bus was forced to drive to a nearby school before players boarded helicopters to return to their training facility just outside the Argentine capital.
Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, released a statement on Twitter (h/t Grainger): "We were not allowed to arrive to greet all the people who were at the Obelisk, the same security forces that were escorting us did not allow us to move forward. A thousand apologies on behalf of all the champion players," Tapia wrote.
Presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti added: "The World Champions are flying over the parade route in helicopters because it was impossible to continue on the ground."
Argentina won the 2022 World Cup on penalty kicks over France on Sunday. It marks the country's first World Cup victory since 1986 and its third overall after winning in 1978.
It was a particularly special victory for Messi, arguably the greatest player in the world, as winning the World Cup was one of the only things left for him to accomplish. While the 2022 tournament was expected to be his last, Messi said that he is not retiring from the national team, which opens the door for his return to the biggest stage in 2026, when the United States will be a co-host.