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Online petition wants Messi’s image in place of Eva Peron’s in Buenos Aires

An online petition has been gaining momentum to change one of Argentina’s iconic images of Maria Eva Duarte de Peron, to World Cup winner, Lionel Messi.

The petition wants Messi’s image to replace the former first lady’s large-scale picture that currently adorns the Ministry of Social Development building in Buenos Aires.

“In one of the most emblematic streets of the country, there should be the image of an Argentine who really represents all of us,” according to the petition that was created by Beni Cocca.

It describes Messi as a “true reference” for Argentines “due to the values, effort and respect that he has always shown”.

World Cup champion Argentina football team returns home to hero’s welcome

The petition underscored Messi’s popularity, not just in Argentina but around the world and describes him as “someone who has given us so much joy and has managed to get thousands of people from other countries to support Argentina, due to the love they have for him”.

Messi deserves to be “in full view of all Argentines and tourists who come to visit us”, it said, adding: “He deserves it and we deserve it as well.”

Jorge M Mario wrote on an internet message board that “Messi represents work, effort, merit … what we all must do to have a great and prosperous homeland”.

Jose ignacio Perez said: “Evita only represents a sector of society. Messi (represents) all Argentines.”

The petition has garnered more than 4,500 signatures since it was launched on Sunday last week.

READ MORE: Messi’s photo with World Cup trophy most-liked Instagram post in history

An estimated five million people packed streets in Argentina’s capital on Tuesday, dressed in national football jerseys, bearing flags, wearing faceprints and sounding vuvuzelas to welcome the World Cup champions.

The five million broke the previous record for fans greeting world cup champions as highways leading into the capital and the city’s centre became a sea of blue and white.

The national team was unable to finish their parade by bus due to the crowds but players boarded helicopters and took to the skies to greet fans before meeting their families.

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