IN IMAGES: Argentina fans take over Spain’s cities after World Cup win

Thousands of Argentinians took to the streets of Madrid, Barcelona and other city centres across Spain to celebrate their national side’s victory against France in the World Cup final on Sunday.  

IN IMAGES: Argentina fans take over Spain's cities after World Cup win
Argentina fans celebrate their team's victory in the Qatar 2022 World Cup final football match against France, in Madrid on December 18, 2022. (Photos by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Many of the roughly 100,000 Argentinians who have made Spain their home celebrated en masse the victory of la albiceleste until the early hours of Sunday night, packing squares, honking horns, chanting football songs and adorning everything in white and light blue. 

Argentina’s World Cup victory against France on penalties after an exhilarating 3-3 draw saw an explosion of joy among Argentinians the world around, and Spain was no exception. 

By midday in Madrid, there was a 50-metre queue outside nightclub Shoko, where Argentina fans gathered to watch their team on a big screen. 

When the winning penalty was scored, they exploded onto the streets, filling the Spanish capital’s Puerta del Sol square to the brim. 

Celebrations at times got out of hand, with some fans trying to climb the giant Christmas tree in Madrid’s iconic square.

Riot police had to be called in to assist and two people were arrested. 

In Barcelona, 10,000 people gathered at the city’s Arc de Triomf, lighting the sky red with flares and letting off fireworks, but fortunately there were no arrests or accidents reported.

Barcelona and Argentina share a common idol in Lionel Messi, who scored two goals in the final and was chosen player of the tournament. 

In Valencia, Argentina fans gathered in front of the town hall to celebrate. In Málaga, they gathered at River Plate’s youth academy branch. Similar scenes were witnessed in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Seville, Bilbao and other cities across the territory.  

Spain’s cultural and linguistic links with Argentina run deep, as together with Italians, Spaniards made up the majority of the migrants that turned modern Argentina into a European melting pot in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

In more recent years, the trend has been reversed, with large migration flows every time an economic crisis hits the Argentine peso.

So far in 2022, more than 33,000 Argentine nationals have moved to Spain, the highest number in 14 years. 

Many of them have Italian passports, which partly explains why the biggest foreign population group in Barcelona are Italians. 

But under Spain’s new Grandchildren Law, many thousands of Argentine nationals will be able to claim Spanish citizenship, in plenty of cases without having ever lived in Spain.

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‘It’s been an honour’: Barça and Spain legend Busquets to leave club

Sergio Busquets will leave Barcelona in June at the end of his contract, the midfielder confirmed Wednesday, ending a highly successful era at the club.

'It's been an honour': Barça and Spain legend Busquets to leave club

“The moment has arrived to announce this is my last season at Barcelona,” said Busquets on Instagram.

“It has been an unforgettable journey.”

Busquets has won the Champions League three times with Barcelona and La Liga on eight occasions before this season, with the Catalans set to triumph again for the first time in four years.

The 34-year-old has been a key player for Barca since breaking into the first team under their former coach Pep Guardiola in 2008, becoming the club’s captain in 2021.

Busquets is Barcelona’s third-highest appearance maker of all time, playing for the club on 718 occasions, lifting 31 trophies in total.

He did not say where he might go next, with Spanish reports suggesting he may move to a team in Saudi Arabia.

“It has been an honour, a dream, a pride. It has been everything to be able to defend and represent this badge for so many years, but everything has a beginning and an end,” continued Busquets.

“Although it has not been an easy decision, I think the time has come.”

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez, who played with Busquets in the team’s midfield for several years, wanted the midfielder to stay next season, but said the decision was up to him.

Busquets’ team-mates past and present paid tribute to him on social media after he announced his future lay outside the club.

“My friend, after so much we’ve lived through together, what can I say that you don’t know?” wrote Barcelona defender Jordi Alba on Instagram.

“You’re leaving your home, having made an indelible imprint on Barcelona’s history.

“More than 700 games and a fundamental part of so many titles, and glorious nights that all Barca fans will forever remember.”

Former Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta said Busquets was “number one”.

‘An example’

“You are the best, Sergio, I will miss you,” wrote Barca midfielder Sergi Roberto, who is set to inherit the captain’s armband.

“An example in all senses, I have been lucky to share many moments with you and it will not be easy day to day without you.”

Barcelona hailed him as “one of the best players ever to represent the club”.

“Busquets’ story at Barca is one of class and commitment in the centre of midfield,” read a statement on the club website.

“His talent and his ability to read the game has made him one of the best defensive midfielders in the game.”

Busquets has been notable as a ball-playing pivot, using perfect positioning and anticipation rather than physicality to recover the ball for his side.

The veteran has long been thought to favour a move to Major League Soccer in the United States at the end of his Barcelona contract, with Inter Miami one of the teams mentioned.

However in recent days the player has been linked in Spanish media with a move to the Saudi Arabian top flight.

Former Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, a close friend of Busquets, is another player who may end up in the oil-rich kingdom after a source close to negotiations told AFP it was a “done deal” for the Argentine forward to move to the Middle East.

However Messi’s father and agent Jorge Messi said Tuesday that the World Cup winner’s future would only be decided at the end of the season.

Busquets won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 and the European Championship in 2012, a key fixture in the national team for nearly 15 years until he retired from international duty in December.

The midfielder was the only player who won the World Cup in 2010 who was part of Spain’s squad for the Qatar tournament, in which they were eliminated in the last 16.