The Argentine captain was dressed in a traditional bisht before lifting the trophy
Messi was draped in the robe at the presentation ceremony at the Lusail Stadium. © Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Debate has erupted among football fans and pundits after Lionel Messi was given a traditional Arab robe to wear before he lifted the World Cup trophy in Qatar.
The Argentine captain helped his country secure a third title in their history by coming out on top of a dramatic final against France on penalties after the score had finished 3-3 following extra time at the Lusail Stadium.
But while the final itself was widely regarded as the greatest of all time, the topic of Messi being draped in a traditional Arab robe known as a bisht by the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, on the podium has proven somewhat more divisive.
“It is a dress for an official occasion and worn for celebrations,” explained the secretary general of Qatar’s tournament organising committee Hassan Al Thawadi, to BBC Sport.
“This was a celebration of Messi.”
In the BBC studio, however, Messi’s former Argentina teammate and Manchester City legend Pablo Zabaleta asked “Just why?” while on punditry duties.
“There’s no reason to do that,” he added.
The host of the British broadcaster’s Qatar 2022 coverage, Gary Lineker, was also critical of the “shame” in covering Messi’s Argentina shirt during a “magic moment.”