The recent FIFA World Cup 2022 was full of controversies and surprises, but one of the greatest surprises emerged after Sunday’s final in which Argentina defeated France after a penalty shoot-out.
Following Argentina’s victory, Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, draped the winning captain, Lionel Messi, in a black and gold colored bisht – a traditional men’s robe – in honor of his team’s success.
Reportedly, Messi’s bisht, which costs roughly $2,200, was made by Al-Salem store, a Qatari bisht supplier. Interestingly, Al-Salem store’s owner did not have any idea that the bisht they tailored was meant for the Argentine footballer, Lionel Messi.
As he watched the final on a screen near his store, Ahmed Al-Salem, the owner of the Al-Salem store, was taken aback by the sight of the Qatari Emir presenting his bisht to Messi, which he only recognized after seeing his brand’s tag.
According to him, his store used to sell an average of 8-10 bishts every day. However, after the World Cup final, he sold over 150 of them in a single day, including three replicas of the one that Messi wore. Al-Salem stated that at one point there was a long queue outside his store, with the majority of them being Argentines.
Al-Salem revealed that World Cup officials wanted the lightest and most transparent fabric and they had ordered two of them, one in a smaller size (for Messi) and the other in a larger size (for France’s Hugo Lloris). He believed that it was because they did not want to conceal the winning team’s jersey.
It is worth mentioning here that the Al-Salem store has been bisht supplier for Qatar’s royal family for a long time. Al-Salem and his workers have produced bisht for various personalities, including ambassadors and diplomats.