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19th Dec 2022

Special meaning behind ‘cloak’ that was put on Messi for World Cup ceremony

Steve Hopkins

‘He is a warrior who achieved this victory for Argentina’

While the black cloak placed over Lionel Messi‘s shoulders after Argentina’s victory over France caused some discussion, the meaning behind the gesture has been explained and it is quite fitting of the star player.

Gary Lineker questioned FIFA’s decision to make Messi wear the bisht – a traditional men’s cloak in the Arab world – during the World Cup trophy presentation – as it covered part of his Argentina shirt, including the national badge.

“Great pictures from above and great pictures from inside the ground as Argentina win the world cup for the third time and first since 1986 they also of course won it in 1978 in their own country,” said the BBC presenter.

“This is a magic moment it’s a shame in a way they’ve covered up Messi in his Argentina shirt.”

Following a dramatic penalty shootout victory on Sunday, ending Messi’s quest to secure the trophy that has evaded him for so long, the footballer was draped in the cloak by the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, as Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino, watched on.

Omar Al Raisi, the founder of Dantani Sports, Sponsorlytix and Arcosoft Gaming later explained the meaning behind the garment on Twitter, writing: “In case you’re wondering, what HH @TamimBinHamad put on Messi? “Its called a ‘Beshth’ in Arabic (البيشت). Members of Royal families wear it, Arabian warriors in the past used to wear it after a victory.

“In general people don’t wear it, unless its a special occasion like a wedding.”

As a result of the Argentinian captain scoring two of the four penalties and helping lead his team to victory, he was honoured with the ‘Beshth’ – “as if to say he is a warrior who has achieved this victory for Argentina,” Al Raisi added.

“Its a great sign of respect and incorporated the Arab culture perfectly,” he wrote.

Posting an image of Messi with the World Cup trophy, Al Raisi added: “A picture worth a thousand years. Nothing ruined, everything glorified.

“There are countless iconic photos of Messi with the Trophy, without the ‘Beshth’. An iconic gesture of Arab culture. In 100 years, new generation of fans will enjoy learning about the Beshth.”

The robe image was also a big payback moment for Qatar’s $220bn investment, The Guardian suggested.

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