Explained: Why Lionel Messi Wore Qatari ‘Bisht’ Before World Cup Trophy Lift

Further strengthening his ‘GOAT’ status, Lionel Messi won his maiden FIFA World Cup title as Argentina defeated France in the summit clash on Sunday. Messi, who had participated in 4 World Cups before the Qatar edition, had never managed to lift the ‘biggest prize in world football’. But, his moment of glory had finally come. However, before Messi could lift the World Cup trophy, he was given a ceremonial robe by the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The gesture from the hosts left many baffled but there’s a reason why such a decision was taken.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani stood on the presentation podium before Messi, the captain of the Argentina team, was to lift the trophy. Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani put the robe on Messi’s shoulders and the Argentine maestro seemed happy to have been given the honour.

What is a ‘Bisht’ and when is it worn?

As for the robe, it is a traditional Qatari ‘Bisht’ that is worn by the royal family, politicians, religious scholars and wealthy individuals on special occasions. As per Arab News, no cloth is deemed better than the ‘Bisht’ to provide the distinction during such grand occasions.

In Qatar, the Bisht is usually worn for special occasions, and winning the FIFA World Cup for the first time in his career was certainly a crowning moment of Messi’s career. The cloth is also usually reserved for high-profile figures in society.

“It is a dress for an official occasion and worn for celebrations,” Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar’s tournament organising committee, was quoted as saying by BBC Sport when asked about the ‘Bisht’. “This was a celebration of Messi.

“The World Cup had the opportunity to showcase to the world our Arab and Muslim culture. This was not about Qatar, it was a regional celebration.

“People from different walks of life were able to come, experience what was happening here and get to understand that we may not see eye to eye on everything, but we can still celebrate together.”

While Messi himself didn’t seem to have had a problem in wearing the ‘Bisht’, the moment has garnered varied reactions from the world of football.

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