Messi receives massive offer to sell Arab cloak from World Cup trophy ceremony

    A lawyer from Oman wants to buy football superstar Lionel Messi’s bisht, the traditional Arab cloak he was presented with at the award ceremony after Argentina’s victorious World Cup final.

    “From the Sultanate of Oman I congratulate you for winning the World Cup Qatar 2022,” Ahmed al-Barwani, a lawyer and member of parliament from Oman, wrote on Twitter. 

    The bisht was “a symbol of chivalry and wisdom”, he said. “I’m offering you $US1 million ($A1.5 million) to give me that bisht.”

    Qatar’s head of state, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, had given Messi the transparent bisht to wear for the award ceremony.

    There was criticism, especially in the West, that the cheering pictures of the Argentinians after their victory against France thus no longer belonged only to the new world champions – but also to the host country.

    In the Arab world, users on social networks reacted with astonishment to the criticism.

    “I was at the stadium watching that moment live when the emir of Qatar gave Messi the bisht,” al-Barwani told The National newspaper: 

    “This moment told the world that we are here, and this is our culture, please know it well.”

    “(The bisht) is a symbol of many things including wisdom, bravery, integrity, generosity and authenticity and, most important, it tells who we are,” al-Barwani said.

    If he is successful with his $US1 million ($A1.5 million) bid, the lawyer does not want to wear the bisht himself, but it will be on display. 

    Lionel Messi of Argentina wearing a traditional black robe called a bisht. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

    “It will be displayed to commemorate that moment of pride, and to help us relive it, and to also remind us that we can (do anything),” he told The National.

    World governing body FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to Qatar was extremely controversial. 

    The Gulf state is regularly criticised for human rights violations, among other things. The country is accused of trying to clean up its image with sporting events like the World Cup.

    A bisht is a long cloak worn by men over their robes, primarily in the Gulf, for special occasions.

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