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Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer mock FIFA chief and question Lionel Messi robe

England legends critical of FIFA”s controversial President

Lionel Messi of Argentina kisses the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Winner's Trophy as Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, look on. (Getty)© Getty Images

Kevin PalmerSunday World

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has created plenty of negative headlines during the course of the World Cup finals in Qatar and that continued through to his final act.

After 63 matches and a thrilling month of action, Sunday’s breathless finale was the wildest conclusion anyone could have imagined to the first finals held in the Middle East and Arab world, with Lionel Messi’s Argentina beating France in a sensational Final.

The 52-year-old Italian started the tournament with his bizarre rant that was his misguided attempt to back the decision to hand the World Cup to Qatar, despite the nation’s dubious human rights record.

“Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled,” declared Infantino, in comments that backfired horribly with negative reaction around the world.

The final act of drama in Qatar 2022 was a cue for Infantino to take to the stage and his appearance produced smirks from former England captains Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer in the BBC Sport studio.

The England greats questioned his choice of clothing attire as he presented the trophies after a thrilling World Cup final as he continued to wear his bright white trainers and suit outfit that have been his trademark in recent weeks.

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi of Argentina holds the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Winner's Trophy as he interacts with Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)© Getty Images

"Gianni Infantino there leading them out for the ceremony where they will give out the Golden Ball, the Golden Glove, the young player award so we have got a little time... interesting choice of trainers there from Gianni Infantino."

Shearer then joined to pile on the controversial FIFA chief: "How old is he?"

Infantino revelled in his moment presenting the trophies and appeared to be reluctant to let Lionel Messi lift the trophy with his team-mates, inspiring Lineker to add: “I didn't think Infantino was going to let him go.”

Shearer chipped in with a final comments Infantino got closer to Messi than the France players: “Nobody marked him that tightly during the game," he added with a smile.

The BBC pundits also questioned why Messi was asked to wear a black robe that covered up his Argentina shirt, with Infantino encouraging him to wear it despite what appeared to be some resistance from the player.

"It seems a shame, in a way, that they've covered up Messi in his Argentina shirt," added Lineker.

Ex-Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta replied: "Just, why? Why? No reason to do that."

Messi took the robe off shortly after he lifted the trophy to cement his legacy as the greatest plyaer of all-time.


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