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English Media Makes Messi’s Crowning Moment Controversial

Lionel Messi has finally stocked the only empty space in his trophy cabinet. On December 18, Argentina defeated reigning champions France in a nail-biting final to win its 3rd FIFA World Cup. A well-deserved victory for the Albiceleste did not come easy, as Les Blues gave them a tough battle.

Coach Lionel Scaloni’s men were in complete control throughout the first half with Messi’s penalty and Angel Di Maria’s goal. However, the difference maker for France was Kylian Mbappe, who scored 2 goals in rapid-fire fashion to equalize the game. He converted a penalty in the 80th minute, followed by a sensational volley a minute later to send the match into extra time. Messi was able to take the lead once again, but Mbappe made it 3-3 with another penalty, becoming the second player in history after England’s Geoff Hurst (1966) to score a hat-trick in the World Cup final. With no sure winner after the extra time, the match went to penalty shootouts, where Argentina emerged victorious after beating France 4-2.

Then came the celebrations, where Argentine players posed for pictures with their family members on the pitch. On the other hand, French president Emmanuel Macron consoled his national team players, especially a visibly devastated Mbappe. Soon after, the grand ceremony took place, and all Argentine players received gold medals. Mbappe also received the Golden Boot for his remarkable feat of scoring 8 goals, the most in the competition.

Messi Receives World Cup in Style

When it was time for the Argentine captain to lift the World Cup, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani put a translucent robe over him. The move sparked international controversy as many British and European elements criticized the Arab garment on a Christian player. Anti-Arab sentiments have been running wild ever since a Middle-Eastern nation won the bid to host World Cup.

Despite facing immense criticism, Qatar also received huge congratulations for hosting the 2022 World Cup. Infantino said it was the best World Cup ever and many fans, celebrities, and politicians found Argentina vs France the best final they have seen. However, Messi lifting the trophy in a Qatari robe put off a lot of viewers. They expressed their disappointment by saying that the garment ruined the photos. Many did not like it covering Messi’s jersey, but as it was translucent, the emblem, name, and number were clearly visible. Yet, the English media called it a “shame” to continue its hostile commentary against the host.

Unbiased commentators did not find anything wrong with the garment, and even Messi was fine with wearing it to lift the trophy with his teammates.

What is the Significance of this Cloth?

Many social media users tried to educate critics about the significance of this robe. The long cloak is called ‘bisht’ and is made of thin material with gold trimming. It is often dark-coloured and worn above a white thobe. However, the one Messi wore was designed in a translucent manner for the World Cup winner so that the national kit remains visible. It is a popular attire in Gulf countries for special occasions. V.I.P. individuals like royals, politicians, and sheikhs wear it typically, while graduates and grooms also don this garment on the big day.

The history of this piece can be traced back to 5 B.C. when Arab soldiers wore similar long robes to battle. The cloth is also a sign of respect and admiration for someone truly important. Putting a bisht on Messi represented his exalted status in football after winning everything this game has to offer.

West is Bothered by Anything Remotely Muslim

The international media did not discuss the significance and instead mocked the traditional garb. For many, this World Cup exposed the hypocrisy and double standards of the English press. Some of the criticism was right, but most was wrong and did not provide a balanced take. It is true that Qatar has been facing allegations of human rights violations. Several migrant workers reportedly died while the country built stadiums for the World Cup. Also, homosexuality is illegal in the country, punishable by 2 years imprisonment. Due to these issues, there were many international calls to boycott the Qatar World Cup. However, the tournament went ahead anyway, as other countries with worse human rights abuses than Qatar have successfully hosted the World Cup, such as the U.S., Russia, and South Africa. The only difference is that those countries did not get much criticism for hosting World Cup as Qatar did. The same is the case with Messi’s Arab robe. Critics claimed that the move was forced upon Messi in some kind of Islamic marketing. However, it soon became clear that the host country only made a gesture to honour the G.O.A.T. in its own way.

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