After Argentina's victory over France in the World Cup final, Lionel Messi was given a bit, a traditional Arab cloak, which covered the bulk of his Argentina jersey.
Messi got the cloak thrown over his jersey by Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar. Messi scored Argentina's first and third goals as they tied 3-3 with France after extra time before overcoming them on penalties.
The couple then escorted the striker, a player for Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain and a Saudi Arabian ambassador, to his teammates as he lifted the trophy while donning the bisht, an Arab man's prestige garment worn on important occasions and often associated with monarchy.
Pablo Zabaleta, a former defender for Argentina, expressed displeasure with how Messi was positioned. He stated this while serving as a BBC pundit: "Whoa, why? Why would you do that?"
Gary Lineker, a former England striker, said, "It seems kind of unfortunate that they've hidden Messi in his Argentina jersey."
Before presenting Messi with the trophy, Alan Shearer joked to the BBC about Infantino's attentive attention to him, stating, "I didn't believe Infantino was going to let him go either."
Then Lineker made a joke: "Nobody kept such a close eye on him throughout the game.
However, "he is skilled in small areas, so he eventually got away from him."
"We should use caution before drawing inferences"
Kaveh Solhekol, chief correspondent for Sky Sports: "It was something we had never seen before in a World Cup final. When the captain takes the World Cup trophy, it is a memorable moment that will live on forever in memory.”
"Usually, the captain is dressed in the national jersey of his team when he accepts the trophy, and the Argentina jersey is among the most recognizable in all of football. But tonight, Lionel Messi was wearing a bisht, a traditional Arab ceremonial garment, as he accepted the prize.”
Some people's response to it has been that it shows the Qataris are attempting to seize control of the situation. Every time someone sees this image, they will be reminded that Qatar hosted the Arab World Cup. Many opponents claim that it was staged during the ceremony by the Qataris.
However, other individuals are arguing that there is nothing contentious about this. This robe was presented to Messi. He chose to wear the robe and chose to do so. Being granted the robe to wear while in an Arab nation is a huge honor.
"I believe that before concluding, we should exercise caution. When the trophy is presented to Messi, it is up to him to determine what he wants to do. If he was OK with doing that, who are we to judge?” noted the coach.
"Qatar was paying homage to Messi"
Why the Emir of Qatar placed a bisht over Messi's shoulders has been explained by Dr. Mustafa Baig, a professor in Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.
The bisht, according to Dr. Baig, is a ceremonial robe worn by dignitaries, royalty, bridegrooms on their wedding days, and graduates during graduation ceremonies.
He told Press Association that only a select few individuals will truly wear the bisht. "By placing it over his shoulders, they were honoring Messi.
"It's like a symbol of honor and simply a cultural greeting and acceptance," the speaker said.
It is also a symbol of Qatari national attire, according to Dr. Baig, but only on special occasions.
This is a special event, he said. There's probably no grander occasion, therefore they gave him the mark of honor by placing it on him.
Dr. Baig said that it was "an amazing thing" for Qatar to do and "clever thinking" on their part, stating that he regarded it as "an acceptance by Messi of the local culture."