Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain. Fabrizio Romano/Twitter

Lionel Messi won the FIFA World Cup over three months ago, but the tributes are still in place whenever the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star returns to Argentina.

Messi is currently in Argentina for an international break, where La Albiceleste are scheduled to play friendly matches against Panama and Curacao. This is the first time Messi has joined his national side since lifting the coveted FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year. The PSG star netted seven goals and provided three assists and clinched the tournament's Golden Ball award.

The Argentine captain landed in Buenos Aires on Monday with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and his three children. The PSG forward then trained with his international teammates before going with his family for dinner at a local restaurant, Don Julio, in the Buenos Aires district of Palermo.

In no time, the news about Messi being at Don Julio spread like fire and hundreds of football fans rushed to the restaurant to get a glimpse of their national hero. The video of fans on the street chanting "Messi, Messi" went viral on social media. The people also sang the words to "Muchachos," which became the unofficial anthem for the Argentina squad that defeated France on penalties in an exciting World Cup final in Qatar last November.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner could not leave the restaurant until 1:45 a.m as he needed the police to intervene and calm the public. As the police and security escorted Messi and his family to his vehicle, the mob tried touching the player or grab a selfie before the PSG star finally made it to his grey Porsche.

"Messi I love you" and "Thank you, Leo" were just a few phrases that could be heard as he was escorted out of the restaurant.

"Thank you for looking at me captain, I can die in peace," one user wrote on Twitter accompanied by a video that showed a smiling Messi being escorted as people shouted, "I love you!"

The fans were seen hugging each other and celebrating as they nearly got in touching distance of Messi, who has now become like the late Diego Maradona for the Argentina people. Maradona captained Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986. However, this was not the case before for Messi before.

Messi, who is now being showered with so much love and respect, earlier suffered from indifferent treatment from many Argentina fans as he was solely blamed for the country's failings in the previous tournaments. Messi's situation went so out of hand that he quit international football in 2016. Thankfully for Argentina, the man returned and now has won two major trophies for them: Copa America and the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Meanwhile, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who recently won the FIFA award for the best coach, has reacted to the 'Messi Mania' that is underway in Buenos Aires and across the country.

"What Leo is experiencing is beautiful because he deserves all that love, him and all the players who are here. Leo also needs to see that people love him and what happens when he comes here. I think it's beautiful, it will stay with him forever," Scaloni said in the pre-match conference on Tuesday.

Ahead of Argentina's friendly fixture against Panama, as many as 63,000 tickets sold out in a flash.

The team's security officials are not revealing any details about how the team will travel to the stadium keeping in mind how the roads could be blocked by the fans. There are rumours the players could travel via helicopter.

The player's transport is a cause of concern because this has happened before. After Argentina won the Qatar World Cup last year, their celebratory open-top bus ride throughout Buenos Aires had to be cut short as millions of fans made it impossible for the bus to advance.