WATCH: Lionel Messi gets rousing ovation on arrival in Peru for FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier

Lionel Messi, the FIFA World Cup-winning captain of Argentina and one of the greatest footballers of all time, got a rousing ovation on his arrival in Peru with the national team, on Monday night, October 16. The 36-year-old has reached the South American nation, to participate in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier, for the CONMEBOL region, against the hosts Peru, on Tuesday, October 17, at the Estadio Nacional de Lima.

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When the Inter Miami star stepped out of his bus to make his way into the hotel in Lima, the fans, who were gathered nearby, started cheering for him, singing his name “Leo” aloud, which made Lionel Messi acknowledge them with a wave. After the Argentina footballing star greeted the fans upon his arrival in Peru, the fans kept on singing for him non-stop for a considerable while.

After Lionel Messi checked into his hotel room in Lima, the fans still stuck around to catch another glimpse of the great man. He didn’t disappoint them, waving at them once again, this time from his hotel room, which was located on one of the upper floors.

When the head coach of Argentina, Lionel Scaloni was asked about whether they should get accustomed to playing without Lionel Messi, because of the fitness issues surrounding him, he said, “Let’s keep in mind that he (Lionel Messi) is still here. What a way to think about ‘when he is gone.’ The truth is that he is still active, let’s leave him alone, are we already retiring him? We commit hara-kiri, we are all crazy.”

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