After 28 days, 64 video games and 172 targets at Qatar 2022, Lionel Messi walked up on the rostrum at Lusail Stadium to lastly get his palms on the World Cup trophy that had eluded him all through his profession.
Earlier than becoming a member of his teammates, who had been ready for his or her captain in a hive of pleasure on a close-by stage, Messi first shook palms with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Tamim then positioned a black and gold bisht – a standard merchandise of clothes worn within the area for particular occasions and celebrations – on the Argentina captain earlier than the 35-year-old was handed the trophy.
In his new apparel, which coated his nationwide pale blue and white jersey, Messi danced in direction of his teammates earlier than lifting the trophy above his head.
It was, for some, the right ending to a event that has been considered by many as the perfect World Cup ever.
Nevertheless, for others, it ruined the second.
“Appears a disgrace in a method that they’ve coated up Messi in his Argentina shirt,” stated former England worldwide and presenter Gary Lineker on BBC’s reside protection of the ultimate.
To others, it was one final try for Qatar to stamp its mark on the event – a criticism of the “sportswashing” (the place critics accused Qatar of utilizing the event to paper over its human rights file) that has underpinned a lot of the protection of the event.
“One thing somewhat unusual about Messi being wearing Bisht, that black cloak that the emir of Qatar dressed him in earlier than lifting the World Cup,” New York Instances journalist Tariq Panja tweeted.
“Qatar needs this to be its second as a lot as it’s Messi’s and Argentina’s.”
There was extra criticism from different media, with British newspaper The Telegraph initially writing the headline “The weird act that ruined the best second in World Cup historical past” in reference to Messi sporting the bisht.
It later modified the headline of the story to “Lionel Messi made to put on conventional Arab bisht for World Cup trophy elevate.”
Messi didn’t put on the merchandise of clothes for lengthy, taking it off shortly after the trophy presentation and celebrating along with his teammates in Argentina’s distinctive jersey.
Amid the criticism, Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary Common of the Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Supply & Legacy (SC), a company charged with organizing the World Cup, tried to clarify the explanations behind the bisht.
“It’s a gown for an official event and worn for celebrations. This was a celebration of Messi,” Al Thawadi instructed BBC Sport.
“The World Cup had the chance to showcase to the world our Arab and Muslim tradition. This was not about Qatar, it was a regional celebration.
“Folks from totally different walks of life had been capable of come, expertise what was taking place right here and get to grasp that we could not see eye to eye on every part, however we are able to nonetheless have fun collectively.”
Others on social media had been outraged by the criticism of the bisht, saying it was steeped in ignorance and misunderstanding of Qatar’s tradition.
It was one other instance, they stated, of the fixed criticism the nation has obtained since successful the precise to host the event.
“Some are mad as a result of Messi wore a bisht (it was gifted to him; an emblem of appreciation and respect within the Arab tradition),” author and columnist Reem Al-Harmi tweeted.
“Nevertheless, I didn’t see the identical stage of anger and outrage when racism, Islamophobia, and orientalism was consistently used towards the World Cup in Qatar.
“As a substitute of preconceived notions & judgmental views, turning this lovely and significant photograph into one thing that isn’t, learn in regards to the Arab bisht; its significance, and why/when it’s worn.
“Gifting somebody a bisht, exhibits how important/respectful they’re, that’s Messi right this moment.”
CNN reached out to FIFA for remark relating to the choice to make use of the bisht within the presentation ceremony.
Messi has not publicly commented on the bisht.