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Selfish moment Qatar World Cup hosts force Lionel Messi to cover up his iconic No.10 shirt with an Arabic robe for trophy presentation: ‘It’s a moment for the players, not the host’

Lionel Messi endured an awkward moment after Argentina’s World Cup win on Sunday as he was draped in a robe ahead of the trophy lift. 

The robe, a bisht traditionally worn for special or ceremonial occasions such as Weddings or religious festivals, was placed on Messi by the Emir of Qatar as FIFA President Gianni Infantino applauded heartily beside him.

Bishts have been worn in the Arabic world for thousands of years at formal occasions. They have been compared to black tie in the western world but also come with connotations of power as they have often been worn by royalty, officials and clergy.

Lionel Messi's Argentina have won the World Cup after beating France in  Qatar

Lionel Messi’s Argentina have won the World Cup after beating France in  Qatar

The Argentine captain was draped in a traditional Arabic bisht during  the celebrations

The Argentine captain was draped in a traditional Arabic bisht during  the celebrations

Argentina’s captain then cut an odd figure as he lifted the World Cup with his shirt partially obscured by a long black robe while his teammates remained in just their playing kit.

He later removed the robe and was seen celebrating the victory in an Argentina shirt with three stars on it, one for each World Cup the nation has now one. 

Some observers felt the bisht was intended as a PR tool for the Qatari regime, as one tweet read: ‘[An] Arab robe on Messi lifting the trophy. Symbolic. A way to stamp culture on what will be one of the most iconic images ever.’

Another added that: ‘Messi finally wins the World Cup and is made to put on a robe to lift the trophy. You just don’t do that,’ while some felt the Argentine number 10 ‘looked like an emperor’.

Messi later removed the bisht to celebrate with the ever-impressive Argentine fans

Messi later removed the bisht to celebrate with the ever-impressive Argentine fans 

Some fans felt the gesture was an attempt to make the celebrations about the host nation

Some fans felt the gesture was an attempt to make the celebrations about the host nation

WHAT IS A BISHT? 

The robe worn by Lionel Messi as he lifted the World Cup trophy was a bisht.

It is a robe generally worn at special occasions such as weddings.

They also denote power and are often worn by officals or clergy. 

Bishts are also worn for ceremonial occasions such as the Muslim festival of Eid.

Its role in formal occasions has been compared that of a tuxedo in western culture. 

There was also concern that the celebrations were being taken away from Argentina.

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‘It should be a moment for the players, not the host. Grossly indulgent,’ one tweet read.

Others agreed, arguing the moment should have been for ‘him [Messi]  and his nation.’

It is rare for a World Cup winner to be handed an item of local clothing during celebrations but not unheard of, as Pele was given a Sombrero to pose with following his victory in Mexico. 

One fan felt this was a reason not to take issue with the Bisht in Qatar, telling critics to ‘live your life and stop whining.’

Another felt the robe’s association with royalty meant it was a fitting wat of ‘acknowledging Messi as the king of football.’

There were also those who felt the robe wasn’t worth thinking about, as they urged fans to instead ‘enjoy one of the greatest sporting moments we’ll ever experience.

He scored twice in the goal and opened the penalty shootout with a classy finish

He scored twice in the goal and opened the penalty shootout with a classy finish

The trophy lift followed a thrilling final that saw Messi’s side edge past France on penalties after an end-to-end 120 minutes.

Didier Deschamps’ side appeared to be out of contention at half time as they trailed 2-0 thanks to goals from Messi and Angel Di Maria, but fought back late on thanks to two goals in as any minutes from Kylian Mbappe.

 Argentina were on top again when Messi scored again in injury time, but Mbappe’s late penalty kept the game alive.

It also made the French star the first man to score a hattrick in a World Cup final sine Geoff Hurst in 1966, but he still ended up on the losing side thanks to an excellent display from Emiliano Martinez in the Argentine goal during the penalty shootout.

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For many fans, Messi’s World Cup triumph has put an end to the debate over who the greatest footballer of all time is, as he has now lifted the one trophy that always eluded him. 

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