There were incredible scenes as Argentina played their first match since winning the 2022World Cup.
Argentina returned to Buenos Aires as heroes to celebrate their World Cup triumph for one final time.
And the 83,196 Argentine fans inside the Estadio Monumental were in a party mood.
Lionel Scaloni started with the same side that started the World Cup final against France in Qatar.
And those 11 players walked out in their friendly against Panama to some quite amazing atmosphere.
AsLionel Messiled his side out, fireworks erupted and blue smoke billowed around the stadium.
Something special was about to happen.
And something special certainly did happen.
Every fan dressed in white and blue chanted and bounced as the players lined up.
It looked incredible and brought the likes of Messi and Emi Martinez to tears.
VIDEO: The incredible scenes before Argentina vs Panama
Lionel Messi in tears 😢
What a moment as Argentina welcomes back its World Cup winners. pic.twitter.com/Pn9lHAw7uV
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 23, 2023
From 2:50 onwards, I swear, I have never seen anything like this before. Argentina, best fans in the world. 🇦🇷pic.twitter.com/9rCdZ2hs2v
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) March 24, 2023
CRAZY SCENES. 🤯
THE BEST ATMOSPHERE OF ALL TIME. 🇦🇷
— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) March 23, 2023
The actual match seemed pretty irrelevant after those celebrations but Argentina beat Panama 2-0 in their friendly.
Thiago Almada opened the scoring before Messi scored the 800th goal of his career with a brilliant free kick.
What did Messi say to fans after the match?
After the match, Messi gave a speech to the adoring fans.
He said: “I want to thank all of you for the affection we have been receiving. Not only for being world champions but also for the Copa America. We had said that we were going to do everything we could for this.
“Personally, I have always dreamed of this moment. To be able to celebrate with you, to come to my country, to Argentina, to lift a Copa America, the Finalissima and the greatest one, which is the World Cup.
“Today is our day, where we are celebrating the champions, but I don’t want to forget all the teammates who were there before, who also did their best to win the cup. Who also did their best to achieve this and 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 their all for this shirt.
“I’d like to thank all my previous coaches who also tried everything possible for this. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
“Hopefully it won’t take so many years. It has been shown that it is very difficult to win the World Cup. It depends on many things, not only on a great group and a great team and sometimes it’s not possible to win it because of details. So let’s enjoy the third start.”