Lionel Messi was introduced with a bisht – a traditional Arab cloak – that lined nearly all of his Argentina shirt as he lifted the World Cup trophy following his nation’s dramatic victory over France within the final.
Messi – who scored Argentina’s first and third targets as they drew 3-3 with France after further time earlier than defeating them on penalties – had the cloak draped over his jersey by Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar.
The ahead – who performs for Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain and is an envoy for Saudi Arabia – was then led in direction of his team-mates by the pair earlier than lifting the trophy whereas carrying the bisht, which is a standing garment worn on particular events by Arab males and is commonly related to royalty.
Former Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta was sad with the place Messi was positioned in. Speaking in his function as a pundit on the BBC, he stated: “Just why? No reason to do that.”
Former England striker Gary Lineker added: “It seems a shame, in a way, that they’ve covered up Messi in his Argentina shirt.”
Also talking to the BBC, Alan Shearer joked in regards to the shut consideration Infantino was paying in direction of Messi earlier than handing him the trophy, saying: “I didn’t think Infantino was going to let him go either.”
Lineker then joked: “Nobody marked him that tightly in the course of the sport.
“He is good in tight spaces though, so he got away from him in the end.”
‘We must be cautious earlier than leaping to conclusions’
Sky Sports chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
“It was something we haven’t seen at a World Cup final before. When the captain receives the World Cup trophy, it is a defining image – it’s a picture that lasts forever.
“Normally when the captain receives the trophy, in fact he is carrying his nation’s shirt – and the Argentina shirt is likely one of the most well-known in world soccer. Except tonight, when Lionel Messi acquired his palms on that trophy, he was carrying a ceremonial Arab gown referred to as a bisht.
“Some individuals have reacted to that saying it is a signal the Qataris are attempting to personal this second. Whenever anyone sees this image, they may bear in mind this was an Arab World Cup and it was held in Qatar. Lots of people are critics and say the Qataris staged it in the course of the ceremony.
“But some people are saying: ‘Hang on a minute – there’s nothing controversial about this.’ Messi was given this robe. He wore the robe and it was his decision to wear it. He’s in an Arab country and it’s a great honour to be given that robe to wear.
“I feel we must be cautious earlier than leaping to conclusions. It’s for Messi himself to resolve what he needs to do when he is handed the trophy and if he was completely satisfied to try this, who’re we to criticise him?”
‘Qatar were honouring Messi’
Dr Mustafa Baig – a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter – has explained why the Emir of Qatar put a bisht around the shoulders of Messi.
Dr Baig says the bisht is a formal robe worn by royalty, dignitaries, grooms on their wedding day, and graduates at graduation ceremonies.
“Only a choose few individuals would truly put on the bisht,” he told Press Association. “They mainly honoured him (Messi) by placing it over his shoulders.
“It’s like a mark of honour, and just kind of a cultural welcoming and a cultural acceptance.”
Dr Baig stated it’s also consultant of Qatar’s nationwide gown – however solely at necessary events.
“This is a top occasion,” he stated. “I mean, there’s probably no bigger occasion, so they put it on him as a mark of honour.”
Dr Baig additionally stated he noticed it as “an embrace by Messi of the local culture”, including that it was “a pretty cool thing” for Qatar to do and “smart thinking” on their behalf.