Messi assisted his team in winning their first World Cup since 1986 by tallying two goals and contributing to his team’s penalty shootout to defeat France.
Lionel Messi, the captain of Argentina’s World Cup-winning squad, has received a one million dollar offer to purchase his bisht.
Omani parliament member, Ahmed Al Barwani, made the offer in a tweet just days after Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani adorned the Argentinian champion with the cloak after his team defeated France at the finals.
“My friend Messi, I congratulate you on winning the World Cup. The Amir of Qatar dazzled me as he placed a bisht, a symbol of magnanimity and wisdom, over your shoulders,” the tweet read.
“I’m offering you a million dollars to give me that bisht.”
The bisht is a traditional men’s cloak that is part of the region’s ancient heritage and is worn in special ceremonies.
His offer received mixed reactions on social media, with some applauding him while others were quick to remind him of his responsibilities as a member of the Shura Council and the Omani Committee for Human Rights.
“Human rights first, doctor and member of the Omani Human Rights Committee. And donating it to a street that serves your country is more useful, Your Excellency, member of the Shura Council. And the release of those in prisons due to lack of money, former President of the Bar Association,” wrote one Omani user.
Last week, the word “bisht” topped the list of the most searched topics globally on Google.
According to a report by Eekad, Bisht also rose to the top of search results in a number of nations, including Argentina, Ghana, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, and Qatar.
While the act of giving Messi a bisht was applauded on social media in the region and beyond, it didn’t stop Western pundits and journalists from expressing racism in response to the iconic moment.
BBC pundit Pablo Zabaleta asked “Just why? There’s no reason to do that,” while BBC host Gary Lineker said it was “a shame they’ve covered his shirt” during what was “a magic moment”.
Meanwhile, ESPN journalist Mark Ogden described its as a barber’s “cape” while HITC Sport’s Dylan Walsh compared the traditional clothing to a “Victoria Secret robe”. Both of those tweets have now been deleted and the journalists issued watered down criticism of the moment.
Explaining the iconic move, Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar’s tournament organising committee, told BBC Sport “it is a dress for an official occasion and worn for celebrations”.
“This was a celebration of Messi. The World Cup had the opportunity to showcase to the world our Arab and Muslim culture. This was not about Qatar, it was a regional celebration.”
Following a dramatic 120 minutes of football in which Mbappe scored a hat-trick, Lionel Messi, his teammate at Paris Saint-Germain, scored a brace for Argentina, and Angel Di Maria added the other goal, Argentina defeated France 4-2 on penalties to dethrone France as world champions.