The football itself is set to take over the headline making in Qatar but ahead of the opening game at the 2022 World Cup, a stunning, no-expense-spared opening ceremony was laid on for those in the stadium and everyone else watching around the globe. Along with the high-tech light show, music and memories of previous editions, there was a more melancholy moment as Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman walked took centre stage
The 2022 FIFA World Cup officially kicked off on Sunday with the opening ceremony at Al Bayt Stadium.
Sunday’s show was headlined by Lebanese singer Myriam Fares, who performed the official FIFA fan festival anthem, “Tukoh Taka”, along with Nicki Minaj and Maluma in front of 60,000 fans.
Bollywood star Nora Fatehi sang another World Cup single, “Light The Sky, while Jung Kook of K-Pop super group BTS also performed.
One of the non-musical performers was American actor Morgan Freeman.
The 85-year-old narrated the event live and delivered a speech about the “emotions that connect us all now”.
The opening ceremony began 90 minutes before the tournament’s first game, between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.
Most of the fans in attendance were Qatari locals but one corner of the stadium was filled by a noisy group of Ecuador supporters.
Among the famous faces in the crowd was former England captain David Beckham, who has been working as an ambassador for Qatar 2022.
Morgan Freeman’s left hand?
As the narration continued, and we listened intently to the message that feels very much aligned to any question marks over sports washing here, we noticed that Freeman’s left hand, gloved, was getting a lot of attention. We can explain.
The actor has fibromyalgia, which he developed after a car accident and has previously tried to conceal with a compression glove. In an interview with Esquire in 2012, the star was obviously in pain and his interviewer Tom Chiarella explained the situation.
“It hurts when he walks, when he sits still, when he rises from his couch, and when he missteps in a damp meadow. More than hurts. It seems a kind of agony, though he never mentions it.”
Freeman himself confirmed it. “It’s the fibromyalgia. Up and down the arm. That’s where it gets so bad. Excruciating.”
Chiarella added more information.
“Despite surgery to repair nerve damage, he was stuck with a useless left hand. It is stiffly gripped by a compression glove most of the time to ensure that blood doesn’t pool there. It is a clamp, his pain, an icy shot up a relatively useless limb.”