Lionel Messi is the most popular man in Argentina these days.
That wasn’t the case for quite some time, particularly after he retired from international duty following the nation’s defeat to Chile in the 2016 Copa America final.
The final loss was Argentina’s third in just three years – and Messi looked a broken man.
But he soon realised the error of his ways and made a return, a choice which has proved to be hugely beneficial for both country and player.
Over the past two years, Argentina and Messi have ended their searches for international success.
Lionel Scaloni’s side won the 2021 Copa America by beating arch rivals Brazil in the final, before achieving a first World Cup triumph since 1986 at the end of last year.
Captain Messi was electric out in Qatar, scoring seven goals and winning the Golden Ball award for a second time.
Yeah, that’s why he’s now Mr. Popular in Argentina – just like his idol, the late Diego Armando Maradona.
Messi-mania in Argentina since his return
Messi is now back in Argentina for the first time since the World Cup victory parades, with the South American nation scheduled to play two friendly matches against Panama and Curaçao.
On Tuesday, we reported on the wild scenes outside a Buenos Aires restaurant where Messi and his family were dining.
It was pure bedlam outside the establishment and another clip of Messi interacting with fans in Argentina has since gone viral as well.
In the latest piece of video footage, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar is spotted in a car while travelling.
And instead of ignoring the supporters screaming his name, Messi wound down his window and made their dreams come true by waving to them.
A simple gesture? Yes, of course, but it’s not something you see every day from the world’s most famous people either…
Video: Messi waves to Argentina fans from his car
Messi, the best person in the world. ❤️
— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) March 22, 2023
Those people will never, ever forget the day they met Messi on the motorway. Anyone else just a little bit jealous?
One fan of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner replied to the video: “This is how humans were meant to be.”
A second quipped: “He’s completed football, he’s just feeding off the love and admiration of his people now and returning the same energy.”
Before he returns to Paris for the final months of the 2022/23 season, expect more viral videos of Messi interacting with fans across Argentina.