Qatar defend making Lionel Messi wear traditional Arab robe before lifting the World Cup
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Qatar officials have defended their decision to force Lionel Messi to wear a traditional Arab robe while lifting the World Cup trophy.
Argentina captain Messi lifted the World Cup on Sunday evening after Lionel Scaloni's side overcame France in one of the most dramatic finals in tournament history.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner put Argentina ahead in the first half before Angel Di Maria doubled their lead.
France striker and Messi's Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe scored twice late in the second half to take the game to extra time.
Messi put Argentina ahead once again before Mbappe completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot late on.
Argentina won the penalty shootout 4-2 after Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni missed their spot kicks.
It means Messi won international football's highest honour in his final appearance at the competition as a player.
Supporters weren't pleased with the trophy lift, however. After shaking hands with FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim, the 35-year-old received the black bisht.
It covered Messi's Argentina shirt, causing controversy. The bisht symbolises wealth and royalty in Arab nations, typically coloured black and gold.
Secretary general of Qatar’s tournament organising committee, Hassan Al Thawadi, explained the decision to BBC Sport.
He said: "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.
"People from different walks of life were able to come, experience what was happening here and get to understand that we may not see eye to eye on everything, but we can still celebrate together."
Sheikh Tamim agreed, tweeting: "We have fulfilled our promise to organise an exceptional championship from the Arab countries.
"It provided an opportunity for the peoples of the world to learn about the richness of our culture and the originality of our values."
Former Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta covered the game for BBC Sport and couldn't hide his frustration at the decision.
He remarked: "Just why? There’s no reason to do that." Meanwhile, presenter Gary Lineker echoed his thoughts.
Lineker said it a 'shame' Messi's shirt was covered during a 'magical' moment.