Lionel Messi statue unveiled at Buenos Aires Image: AFP
Lionel Messi has finally become Rocky Balboa. A country that always tagged him 'the outsider' unveiled a statue of their captain at Buenos Aires. (Read: Messi quits Argentina)
Argentina is on its knees, pleading. (Read: Aguero to quit?)
Lionel Messi shocked Argentina and the whole world with his unexpected retirement after Chile defeated Argentina 4-2 on penalties in the Copa America final.
The mayor of Buenos Aires unveiled a statue of Messi today in the city. Fascinating story unfolding. pic.twitter.com/doDTCckA4G— Dave O’Connell (@DaveOCKOP) June 29, 2016
The Barcelona star returned to Argentina on Monday but avoided commenting on his abrupt resignation from the national team.
Dozens of emotional fans wearing the white and sky-blue striped jerseys of the national team, adorned with Messi's number 10, waited in the rain for the team to return from the tournament in the US.
A statue of Messi unveiled in Buenos Aires, Argentina [efe] pic.twitter.com/jUegZbjndh— FC Barcelona Fl (@FCBarcelonaFl) June 29, 2016
Some followed the team bus along the road leading from the airport to the Argentine Football Association complex.
They waved flags and chanted, ''Messi is not leaving!" They carried banners. One of them read: "Messi: I love you more than I love my mom."
Although Messi could not be seen on the bus, AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo confirmed to The Associated Press that he had arrived in Buenos Aires with the rest of the team.
Fans, players, Argentina's President and even the country's greatest player, Diego Maradona, have pleaded Messi to reconsider.
Will he oblige?
Only time will tell.