Though the move seemed to be a sweet gesture for the greatest footballer ever and a fitting end to the controversial Qatar World Cup, fans were not pleased with the timing of the move.
Considering FIFA made such a huge fuss about players wearing a ? armband, it's incredulous Lionel Messi was dressed in this robe by Infantino & the Qatar monarch to photobomb the greatest moment of his career. This day belongs only to La Albiceleste #ARG#FIFAWorldCup2022 pic.twitter.com/QcBBfMbmNJ— Rob Blanchette (@_Rob_B) December 18, 2022
Taking this matter into consideration, Sky Sports chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol has stepped up to add his perspective on this.
"It was something we haven't witness 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, surely, he'll be seen wearing his country's shirt - and the Argentina shirt is one of the most famous in world football. Except for the night, when Lionel Messi got his hands on that trophy, he was wearing a ceremonial Arab robe called a ‘bisht’.
Some people have reacted to that saying it's a sign the Qataris are trying to own this moment. Whenever anybody sees this picture, they will remember this was an Arab World Cup and it was held in Qatar. A lot of people are critics and say the Qataris staged it during the ceremony.
Having said that, Dr Mustafa Baig - a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, has stepped up to clarify a few matters about the tradition of donning a robe.
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 select few people would wear the bisht," he told the Press Association. It’s their tradition of honouring him (Messi) by putting it over his shoulders.
"It's like a mark of honour and just kind of a cultural welcoming and a cultural acceptance."
Dr Baig said it is also representative of Qatar's national dress - but only on important occasions.
"This is a top occasion," he said. "I mean, there's probably no bigger occasion, so they put it on him as a mark of honour."
At this point, the writer would like to emphasize that we have to be more careful before jumping to conclusions. It's for Messi himself to decide what he wants to do when he's handed the trophy, and if he was happy to do that, who are we to criticize him?
Let’s get more insights before we rush ourselves into judging something that doesn’t make sense.
Image Credit / Source: National World , GETTY Images