Messi’s black robe during coronation sparks row, fans share Pele’s image in response


Argentina won the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Sunday, by defeating France. While the world celebrated the Latin American country’s third World Cup, the world across broke in utter merriment when they Lionel Messi lifted the JulesRimettrophy for his country and his team.

‘Messi’s biopic got a befitting climax’ uttered many, as the world celebrated the Argentine talisman leading his team to victory in the final match against France.

After the win, during the award distribution ceremony, when Messi went up on the podium, he was gifted a black robe by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Known as the ‘bisht’ this caught the attention of many onlookers who remained confused as to why was Messi wearing the black robe?

“A final flourish from Qatar. Dressing Lionel Messi in a bisht before allowing him to lift the World Cup. What on earth are we watching?” wrote a Twitter user.

Several took to twitter with their questions about the Bisht. Several thought this undermined the LM10 jersey with the Argentine colours. However, later Messi opted for the more familiar blue and white striped Argentina jersey, the one with three golden stars- one for each world cup.

Messi was prominently pictured wearing a ‘bisht’ traditional cloak that the emir presented the Argentina icon before he lifted the World Cup trophy. Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani put the robe on Messi’s shoulders and the Argentine maestro seemed happy to have been given the honour.

What is the significance of the Bisht?

The Bisht is a traditional Qatari garment worn by the royal family, politicians, religious scholars and wealthy individuals on special occasions. According to Arab news, no cloth is deemed better than the ‘Bisht’ to provide the distinction during such grand occasions.

In the gulf country the Bisht is worn on special occasions. Winning the FIFA World Cup definitely counts as one. Therefore it seems fitting that a cloth that usually reserved for high-profile figures in society, a mark of honour, was gifted to Messi in recognition of his career, hardwork and achievement.

Messi wearing the Bisht- Controversy

Many questioned Messi wearing the Bisht when he went up to the stage to receive the trophy and the Golden Ball. While it might have been a mark of honour for the Arabs, many followers of the game have seen the move as unnecessary and as an attempt to overshadow Messi’s historical achievement. 

Pablo Zabaleta, who played alongside Messi at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, asked “Just why? There is no reason to do that.”

One Twitter user wrote: ‘It’s also worn in graduation ceremonies, which kinda fits Messi’s situation.”

Several Twitter users defended Messi donning the traditional Bisht. Some took example of Brazilian football legend Pele donning the Sombrero Mexican hat after winning his 3rd FIFA World Cup in 1970.

“It is a dress for an official occasion and worn for celebrations,” Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar’s tournament organising committee, was quoted as saying by BBC Sport when asked about the ‘Bisht’. “This was a celebration of Messi.

“The World Cup had the opportunity to showcase to the world our Arab and Muslim culture. This was not about Qatar, it was a regional celebration.

“People from different walks of life were able to come, experience what was happening here and get to understand that we may not see eye to eye on everything, but we can still celebrate together.”

While Messi himself didn’t seem to have had a problem in wearing the ‘Bisht’, the moment has garnered varied reactions from the world of football.

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