"It's crazy, there are no words to explain it. Messi is from Rosario, Di Maria is from Rosario, they scored the goals today and they gave us the Cup! Living here is that is priceless," said Emiliano Gamara, a 31-year-old catering employee, who came back especially from Ireland, where he works, to watch the match with his family.
Like many other cities in Argentina, Rosario, 300 km from Buenos Aires, the country's third largest city with 1 million inhabitants, was throughout Sunday a flow of sky and white jersey towards the various giant screens or , in this case, a bar.
But here is special.
If Argentina considers in the world that it has a special relationship with football, Rosario considers in Argentina that it has an even more special relationship with this sport.
It's because between Kily Gonzalez, Javier Mascherano, Gabriel Batistuta, Giovani Lo Celso, the "Rosarinos" and "Santafesinos" are legion in the Albiceleste pantheon, whether they were born or hatched in this great port on the banks of the Parana or in its province, Santa Fe.
When eternal rivals embrace
Ditto for the emblematic coaches: Cesar Luis Menotti, coach of the 1978 coronation, Marcelo Bielsa, Mauricio Pochettino... And Lionel Scaloni himself, coach now world champion from Pujato, a village 35 km from Rosario.
"This team deserves it! It's crazy, especially for Messi, who never gave up and tried so hard. He's a great man," 23-year-old Martin Reina told AFP. breaking down in tears in the traditional El Cairo bar.
Messi, who from the top of a giant fresco (70 m) unveiled at the end of 2021 on a side of a skyscraper seemed to watch over the tens of thousands of "Rosarinos" gathered to celebrate around the Monument to the Flag, the equivalent of the Obelisk in Buenos Aires.
Supporters gathered before the 2022 World Cup final in the Bajada district, where Messi is from, on December 18, 2022 © STR / AFP
Messi left as a child of Rosario, - a first contract at 13 in Barcelona - after going through the youth teams of Newell's Old Boys, one of the two great historic clubs in the city, since the age of 7.
Angel Di Maria, he comes from the great rival of Newell's, Rosario Central, where he started at 17 in the 1st division.
Before, 'Fideo' ('Spaghetti', an affectionate nickname linked to his long, slim figure) had made his debut on the bare ground of Club Atletico El Torito, north of the city.
The love of Albiceleste, in addition to the jubilation of the world title, offered Rosario the moving spectacle of seeing the supporters of two rival clubs, with often violent relations in the past, unite in the same tide sky and white.
Avid fan of Rosario Central, Ariel Chinazzo, 19, admits to crying when he learned that the midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, a former "Central" and perfect partner of Messi on the ground, would not play the World Cup, insufficiently recovered of injury.
"But I love him, Messi. It doesn't matter that he's from Newell's, we're all Argentines!" he exclaimed in the euphoria of victory.
"This selection unites everyone. We see supporters of Central and Newell hugging and singing. It's the most beautiful thing there is. Everyone sings and pushes together behind the selection", marveled Nahuel Cantero, a 21-year-old comedian.
"This month of December, the + Selection + gave us seven days - as many as the matches played at the World Cup - to celebrate, to be all united without distinction," he said.
An Argentinian supporter during the 2022 World Cup final won by Argentina against France on December 18, 2022 in Rosario, Argentina © STR / AFP
Because bringing together the "Lepers" of Newell's and the "Thugs" of Rosario, as they elegantly call themselves, is another of the outcomes of this world title.
© 2022 AFP