Lionel Messi at centre of controversial moment after World Cup final
FIFA have come under fire in the wake of the World Cup final over their controversial decision to drape Lionel Messi in a traditional Qatari robe for the trophy presentation. Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory after a pulsating 3-3 draw with France was decided in a penalty shootout.
It marks the first World Cup trophy for Messi and caps off his illustrious football career. However controversy has erupted in the aftermath of the final after the Argentinian superstar was draped in a Qatari garment for the post-match presentation.
'DON'T THINK SO': Lionel Messi question labelled 'disrespectful'
'DARK DAY FOR AUSTRALIA': Football stunned by 'disgusting' Aussie act
As Messi walked onto the stage to collect the World Cup trophy alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino, he was draped in a traditional robe from Qatar. Messi then kept the robe on as he celebrated with teammates and posed for photos with the trophy.
The garment is known as a bisht in Qatar. It is normally worn by dignitaries at weddings and other formal occasions.
Messi seemed happy enough to go along with it, but fans and commentators have condemned FIFA over the move. The World Cup in Qatar was the first to ever be held in the Middle East but was plagued by controversy around the country's human rights record and stance on homosexuality.
Many flocked to social media to condemn the stunt with Messi, with some suggesting it was FIFA's way of forever reminding the world that the event took place in Qatar. Others were furious that Messi's iconic No.10 jersey and blue and white Argentina strip were covered up in the official photos.
"Qatar obviously wanted to be present in the World Cup trophy pictures, hence putting that black bisht on Messi," tweeted Laurie Whitwell of The Athletic. "But just made for a weird, unnecessary look amid a sea of blue and white sporting shirts. It should be a moment for the players, not the host. Grossly indulgent."
Aussie commentator Brenton Speed tweeted: "Can they do the ceremony again now without giving Messi the robe… for goodness sake!" Journalist Will Martin added: "Making Messi wear that robe is absolutely grim. Sums up everything wrong with this World Cup."
Considering FIFA made such a huge fuss about players wearing a 🌈 armband, it's incredulous Lionel Messi was dressed in this robe by Infantino & the Qatar monarch to photobomb the greatest moment of his career. This day belongs only to La Albiceleste #ARG#FIFAWorldCup2022 pic.twitter.com/QcBBfMbmNJ
— Rob Blanchette (@_Rob_B) December 18, 2022
Why on earth would anyone cover Messi up with a black robe, that covers his iconic number 10 Argentina shirt, during his famous trophy lift photo?! Good god. FIFA are a disgrace. And qatar are right behind.
— Johnny Ward (@onestep4ward) December 18, 2022
Cannot believe Messi finally wins the World Cup and is made to put on a robe to lift the trophy. You just don’t do that
— Si Lloyd (@SmnLlyd5) December 18, 2022
Can they do the ceremony again now without giving Messi the robe… for goodness sake! #WorldCupFinal
— Brenton Speed (@BrentonSpeed) December 18, 2022
Qatar sticking Messi in a little robe to make sure that we’re always reminded of just where Messi and Argentina won it when history looks back at that trophy lift. #FIFAWorldCup
— Joey Lynch (@joeylynchy) December 18, 2022
Making Messi wear that robe is absolutely grim. Sums up everything wrong with this World Cup
— Will Martin (@willmartin19) December 18, 2022
Lionel Messi and Argentina win crazy World Cup final
Messi scored twice before also converting in the penalty shootout, carrying his side to victory over France. After the greatest final in World Cup history ended in a 3-3 draw after extra time on Sunday, it all came down to the shootout.
Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick for France - the first treble in a men's final for 56 years - as the world's top two players both shone in a scintillating duel. Both men then scored in the shootout but Argentina prevailed 4-2 to lift the World Cup for the third time. Gonzalo Montiel scored the clinching penalty to spark insane scenes of celebration inside the stadium.
Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez proved the hero, saving Kingsley Coman's penalty. Aurelien Tchouameni then fired wide to give Argentina their first world title since 1986. "This is my dream," said Martinez, who also won the Golden Glove as the tournament's best goalkeeper.
Considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all-time, Messi was finally able to lift the one trophy that had eluded him, putting him in the pantheon of greats alongside Diego Maradona and Pele. Messi has now achieved what Maradona did in 1986, dominating a World Cup for Argentina.
The torch will one day pass to Mbappe, whose late goals transformed the match and earned him the Golden Boot as the tournament's top scorer. "Let's go, Argentina!" Messi roared into a microphone on the field in the post-match celebrations, before he collected his Golden Ball award as the player of the tournament.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.