Messi and the "Bisht" Controversy

  • Publish date: Wednesday، 21 December 2022 Last update: Thursday، 22 December 2022
Messi and the "Bisht" Controversy

What happened: On Sunday, 18th December 2022, football fans endured a nail-biting FIFA final between Argentina and France at the Lusail stadium in Qatar as well as an unforgettable moment as Messi stepped up to the platform to receive his long-awaited World Cup trophy.

To commemorate the moment, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, presented the Argentine Captain- Messi with a Bisht, a traditional black cloak worn by Royals or Arab warriors for celebrations and official occasions as a sign of respect and honor.

What is a Bisht?

In the regional Arabic language, "bisht" refers to cloak. It is a mantle for men that was traditionally worn by Arabs hundreds of years ago. Royal Families, politicians, and religious scholars usually wore the traditional Qatari garment, Bisht on special occasions.

What was the controversy?

However, what was supposed to be an iconic moment of Messi donning the Bisht, received severe backlash from the Western media with some calling it a “shame” to cover the winning jersey and some accusing Qatar of “hijacking” the moment and being “selfish” to “force” someone to wear their traditional garment.

UK’s Mirror news outlet said that “Lionel Messi was forced to cover his Argentina shirt with a black and gold robe as he lifted the World Cup trophy in Qatar.” Likewise, English sports broadcaster Gary Lineker said: “It seems a shame, in a way, that they've covered up Messi in his Argentina shirt.”

Football journalist at ESPN Mark Odgen tweeted, “Lionel Messi has spent his entire career waiting to lift the World Cup. When he gets to do it, all the pics are ruined by somebody making him wear a cape that looks like he’s about to have a haircut.”

How did Argentines react to the news?

On the contrary, the Argentines openly appreciated and loved the gesture. They saw it as a “nice touch” to an exceptional night and took pride in receiving the greatest honor you can bestow in the Arab country.

Messi and the "Bisht" Controversy

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