Wednesday, February 28News That Matters

Why Lionel Messi wore a robe during the World Cup final trophy presentation

Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to their first World Cup title in 36 years as they beat France on penalties, in arguably the tournament’s greatest ever final.

The 35-year-old was instrumental for his nation, bagging a brace and opening the scoring in a penalty shootout they would win 4-2, with the game locked at 3-3 after 120 minutes of football action.

But in the much anticipated trophy presentation, supporters were caught off guard as Messi was presented with the World Cup trophy while decked out in a black robe.

It caused major confusion among onlookers around the world, as it remained draped over him even while lifting the World Cup with his team, subsequently covering his iconic shirt.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar was presented with the trophy by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the host nation Qatar.

It was the Emir who presented Messi with the black robe, trimmed in gold, which he would wear in the official trophy presentation.

The robe is called a ‘bisht’, which is a traditional item of men’s clothing in the Arab world, often donned for special occasions and ceremonies like weddings.

There are royal connotations which are associated with the bisht, as they are generally worn by secular officials or clergy.

With this being the first ever World Cup held in the Arab country, it is the first time fans have seen the garment involved in final celebrations. It is also the first time a traditional piece of clothing has been worn by a World Cup-winning captain when lifting the trophy.

Messi eventually picked up Player of the Match and Player of the Tournament awards after the final whistle, to put the seal on an iconic tournament for himself.

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