WATCH: Lionel Messi in tears as Argentina welcome back World Cup heroes in first match since triumph in Qatar

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Messi Argentina pregame Panama 2023
Lionel Messi could barely contain his emotion as Argentina welcomed back their World Cup heroes for their first match together since Qatar.
  • Messi holds back tears
  • Argentina welcomes back
  • First game since World Cup triumph

WHAT HAPPENED? Argentina hosted Panama in their first friendly since topping France in December, and the celebration pregame brought out the emotions for all involved. Messi, in particular, looked overwhelmed by the support as he held back tears of joy as his country cheered them on.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The World Cup win was the crowning achievement in Messi's illustrious career has he finally won the prize he craved most for his country. Thursday's friendly was a celebration of that achievement as all of Argentina's stars were given the welcome they deserved by their country.

WHAT NEXT FOR ARGENTINA? After facing Panama, Argentina will next play host to Curacao on Tuesday for one more friendly during this international break.