Lionel Messi mobbed by Argentina fans during dinner at Don Julio restaurant in Buenos Aires

It’s been nearly three months since Argentina lifted football’s most famous and most coveted trophy, but World Cup fever has yet to subside in the South American nation.

Argentina won its second World Cup title in history thanks in large part to Lionel Messi, the 35-year-old hero who came so close in 2014, but finally managed to lift the trophy this time, beating defending champions France in a thrilling final that went to a penalty shootout.

While the football calendar rolls on, as the March 2023 international break signals the start of a new four-year cycle leading up to the 2026 World Cup, fans in Argentina still can’t stop celebrating the 2022 title and its heroes.

Messi, voted the best player at the 2022 World Cup, is chief among the players revered by the fans, as he cemented his status as one of the greatest players of all time.

MORE: Lionel Messi’s goals, assists, and other stats in 2023

Messi mobbed by Argentina fans at restaurant Don Julio

Back home in Argentina’s capital ahead of the team’s friendlies against Panama and Curacao during the March international window, Messi was out to dinner on March 20, but fans soon caught wind of his location.

Messi, his wife Antonela Roccuzzo and their three children landed earlier in the day in Buenos Aires, training with his teammates that day before linking back up with his family. They dined at Don Julio steakhouse in Buenos Aires, which was soon swarmed by hundreds of fans who chanted his name and scrambled to get a glimpse of their footballing hero.

The video is an incredible representation of how the country adores the 35-year-old superstar, crowned a footballing king for bringing them a third-ever World Cup title.

Additional video was shared showing Messi attempting to exit the restaurant, smiling sheepishly as he gets a police escort to push through the sea of fans.

Will Messi do the San Nicolas pilgrimage?

If there’s one thing Argentina fans have made clear, its that they have exceptional memories. That might come back to haunt Lionel Messi, who made a promise back in 2018 that fans still haven’t forgotten.

Speaking in an interview with TyC Sports ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Messi promised that he would make the famed pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in San Nicolas.

Every September, devotees make the walk from their homes to the shrine at the San Nicolas Cathedral, which for Messi would be approximately 43 miles from his hometown in Rosario.

However, given the mob scene outside the restaurant, as well as the scene in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup win which forced the Argentina team bus to evacuate downtown Buenos Aires via helicopter, Messi would not be faulted for rethinking this move.

When do Messi and Argentina play next?

In the March international window, Argentina will play friendlies against Panama (March 23) and Curacao (March 28) to commemorate their World Cup win.

Lionel Messi is in the squad, as are most of the World Cup winning stars, including Angel Di Maria who was thought to be retiring from international football after Qatar.

Argentina do not return to competitive fixtures until the 2024 Copa America, meaning they must fill the 2023 calendar with mostly friendlies unless there are competitions that are created between now and then.

As of now, no other fixtures have been confirmed for Argentina after the March international break.

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