Argentina’s World Cup winners were forced to abandon their open-top bus parade around Buenos Aires due to the massive crowds and have instead embarked on a helicopter tour of the capital, the presidency said on Tuesday.

“The World Champions are flying over the parade route in helicopters because it was impossible to continue on the ground due to the explosion of popular joy,” presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti said on Twitter.

The bus had been crawling along the planned 30-kilometer route towards the center of the capital due to the huge numbers of Argentines who had lined the streets to celebrate their victory over France in the World Cup final.

Millions of people had been gathering around various parade points in the capital since dawn in a bid to see their heroes in the flesh.

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The largest congregation was at the iconic Obelisk monument in the center of Buenos Aires that has for decades been the epicenter of sporting celebrations.

Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), blamed police for the decision to abandon the planned bus tour.

“They are not allowing us to go and greet all the people at the Obelisk,” said Tapia on Twitter.

“The same security agencies that escorted us are not allowing us to continue.

“Thousands of apologies in the name of all the champion players. It’s a shame.”

Ariel view of fans waiting for the team bus at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires (Courtesy: MATIAS BAGLIETTO / AFP)

The news emerged almost five hours after the team set off from the AFA training complex where they had briefly rested following their late night arrival from Qatar.

Hundreds of people starting running towards the presidential palace on another city center square amidst rumors the players were heading there by helicopter.

But it turned out that they merely flew over the planned route before returning to the AFA complex.

An estimated five to six million people had lined the parade route, a government source said.

Television images showed one man trying to jump from a bridge onto the players’ bus but missing and falling into a crowd of people.

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