Lionel Messi Wearing ‘Sportswashy’ Robe For Trophy Ceremony Divides Opinion

Unless you are living in a cave, you probably already know this by now.

Argentina won the World Cup.

Lionel Messi won the World Cup.

And whoever thinks it was a cakewalk, here’s a reality check. It really was not.

2-0 up. 2 goals in 2 minutes and we’re level at a couple of goals each.

3-2 thanks to Messi in extra time. 3-3 thanks to the prodigal son Kylian Mbappe. Hat-trick complete, scores level at the end of extra time, on we go to the penalties.

The two headline acts, the two number 10s took the first kick for their respective teams and duly converted.

A few kicks later and it was all over, Argentina had earned the right to put another star on their shirts.

And Messi, their captain, had added another star, perhaps the most coveted, in his bejewelled crown.

Undisputed GOAT. No question about it. Except for some from Ronaldo fans but let’s not go there. That is a never-ending debate and for another day.

After the finale, after some celebrations, after Sergio Aguero, Salt Bae and others had joined the Argentina squad on the pitch, came the crowning moment.

The handing of the trophy to the rightful heirs.

There was the whole squad, waiting in their iconic blue and white, for their captain to come back with the trophy in his blue and white.

But what happened came as a shock to many watching. Messi was forced to wear a black and gold robe when receiving the trophy, which covered his jersey.

He was given the robe by the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

The robe, called a ‘Bisht’, is made of camel hair and goat wool and is worn in the Arab world on special occasions.

While the heads of Qatar may have done this with all the good intentions, it certainly meant they took some of the limelight away from Leo and his team as the robe meant that the team’s jersey was not fully visible.

Presented Gary Lineker said, “Amazing scenes, great pictures from above and great pictures from inside the ground as Argentina win the World Cup for the third time. It seems a shame, in a way, that they’ve covered up Messi in his Argentina shirt”.

Social media also accused Qatar of using this as one last opportunity to sportswash.

While some joked that the USA, the next hosts, will also do something similar to educate others about their “culture”.

As always though, social media is divided, with many also supporting the move and accusing the western media of racism and being anti-Qatar.

Whatever the reason, Qataris were indeed opportunistic here to somehow insert themselves and their culture in a photo that will be shared by millions in the following days.

Soon after the trophy lifting was done, Messi ditched the robe and put on a shirt which had three stars on it to mark their third cup triumph.

All this will be soon forgotten. Corruption, robe, temperatures, VAR calls, controversies and injuries.

What will be remembered is this: Argentina are the 2022 FIFA World Cup Champions.