Monday, December 19, 2022

Why was Messi wearing a négligée?

If, like me, you were a bit confused as to why Lionel Messi was wearing a black slinky négligée while celebrating Argentina's World Cup final win, fear not, the Interwebs are there for you (and me).

Apparently, it's not a négligée at all (sorry!), but a bisht, a Kuwaiti honour bestowed on Messi by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thami, while awarding Messi the Golden Ball award and the Jules Rimet Trophy itself. It is a special ceremonial apparel reserved for the most honoured guests and high-ranking members of society only, so I guess Messi felt he should probably continue wearing it (or perhaps risk imprisonment, or worse).

So, not a négligée, a bisht. OK? And I take suggestions by the likes of Al Jazeera that not knowing about the whole bisht thing is evidence of inexcusable racism with a sizeable pinch of salt. If we are expected to know and understand the most obscure Arabic customs in order to escape being labelled racist and irretrievably Islamophobic, then there is little hope for any of us. After all, was the Emir not culturally sensitive enough to know that Argentinians do not like to wear mesh cloaks when they are celebrating?

It's comforting to note, though, that Messi did not succumb to the crying plague that seems to assail so many other top soccer players, whether tears of joy (Ángel di María) or tears of despair/petulance (Cristiano Ronaldo). For an apparently hyper-macho sport, crying jags are an astoundingly common sight at the top levels of world football, with di María and Ronaldo being just two of the most prolific, veritable artisans of lacrimation.

Messi? Nary a drop. Just the trademark goofy grin. G.O.A.T.? Probably.

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