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What was the black cloak Lionel Messi wore lifting the World Cup trophy? Arabic robe tradition explained

13:18 GMT+3 19/12/2022
Lionel Messi bisht
The iconic Argentine playmaker is now a world champion, with global glory savoured at Qatar 2022.

Lionel Messi finally got his hands on the World Cup at Qatar 2022, with pictures of the Argentina captain hoisting the famous trophy aloft being beamed to billions in every corner of the planet.

Images of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner completing his remarkable medal collection will become as iconic as he is. However, the question may be asked in years to come of what he was wearing when celebrating with his jubilant team-mates?

Messi positioned himself on top of the podium with a black cloak draped around his shoulders. What was it and why did he have it on? GOAL takes a look...

What was the robe Lionel Messi wore lifting the World Cup?

Messi was presented with the World Cup trophy at the end of an epic final encounter with France – one that finished 3-3 after extra-time and required penalties in order to determine a winner – by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

An item of clothing was handed to him by the Emir beforehand, with the South American icon wearing said garment as he walked over to his excited colleagues and completed the trophy lift.

The cloak given to Messi, which was black and gold in colour, is known as a bisht.

Why was Lionel Messi wearing the robe?

With the first World Cup finals to be staged in the Middle East coming to a close, Messi got involved with local tradition on the biggest day of his remarkable playing career.

Most captains like to have their national team jersey on full display when thrusting a trophy towards the sky, but Argentina’s skipper was asked to don a ceremonial robe for his moment under the brightest of spotlights.

Messi did dispose of the bisht when continuing wild celebrations at the Lusail Stadium, with friends, family and media from all over the world descending on the playing surface as the Albiceleste toasted securing their first global crown since the days of Diego Maradona in 1986.

What is a bisht and what is it used for?

A bisht is a long cloak made of sheer material with trimming that is real gold.

It is a garment associated with special occasions and is viewed by those in the Gulf region as a sign of appreciation and respect.

Top officials, politicians and high-status individuals are usually the ones to don a bisht, while they are also used in the Arab world for weddings and religious festivals.

As the bisht is associated with celebration, it seemed only fitting that Messi would be ask to don one as Argentina basked in World Cup glory.