Football heroes Lionel Messi, Emi Martínez and Lionel Scaloni weren’t the only ones to bag prizes at FIFA’s The Best awards in Paris last night – the team’s fans themselves also earned a trophy. That means Argentines can officially call themselves “the best hinchada (fanbase) in the world”.
Judges gave Argentina supporters the FIFA Fan award for their “incredible support for their team’s ultimately victorious FIFA World Cup campaign”, also acknowledging the millions of fans who “welcomed their heroes home to Buenos Aires and across the country.”
Argentina fans turned out in massive numbers in Qatar stadiums, and participated in the country’s largest street gathering ever, when five million people went out to the streets of Buenos Aires to welcome the World Cup champions. Frenzied supporters starred in an array of viral videos that showed people cheering on tanks and buses, inside churches and airplanes, and on top of monuments and street lights.
The award was received by 82-year-old bombo-player Carlos Pascual, an iconic character for Argentine football fans, who has been there to support the team at all three World Cups they have won.
“I’ve been everywhere, I am poor but I have traveled the world,” he said, visibly overwhelmed. “I’m an Argentine hincha who is representing the thousands of supporters of our dearest national team, the millions of people who celebrated the World Cup triumph.
“Argentina was a bit sad and you boys brought back some joy for the people,” he said to Messi and Martinez.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be a true Argentine hincha, check out our starter pack for a few friendly pointers.