On Sunday, soon after Argentina won the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 against France at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar, the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani wrapped Lionel Messi in a black robe known as a Bisht.
Argentina finally ended a 36-year wait to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy on Sunday. All eyes were on captain Messi as he took to the stage to lift the 18-carat gold trophy as he has now won every major football tournament.
The sportsman wore the Bisht with immense honour, and took to the centre of the stage, surrounded by his Argentine teammates, as fireworks and confetti took to the sky as he raised the trophy.
The gesture by the Emir of Qatar, who donned the Bisht himself, had some tongues wagging, and some heads shaking, believing it clouded Messi and Argentina’s moment.
However, the move drew mixed reactions online as some welcomed the garment as a sign of respect and others complained it obscured the shirt too much and impacted a “magic moment.”
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.
“Longest wait for a trophy lift ever and they did their best to ruin it. Why cover up Messi’s shirt with that? Ridiculous. Glad he’s now ditched it,” wrote James Pearce, a Liverpool FC reporter, on Twitter.
Mark Ogden, an ESPN writer, said that “it wasn’t Qatar’s moment to cover Messi’s Argentina shirt with their own garment of clothing.”
A journalist for The Athletic sports news site said the Bisht “made for an [sic] weird, unnecessary look amid a sea of blue + white sporting shirts.”
“Just why? There’s no reason to do that,” said BBC pundit Pablo Zabaleta, according to a Guardian report, which also cited BBC host Gary Lineker as saying that it was “a shame they’ve covered his shirt” during “a magic moment.”
One fan wrote: “A Qatari didn’t win the trophy, an Argentinian did. The shirt means something to them as well, and they want to see their hero lift the trophy wearing that shirt.”