For The ‘Gram: Salt Bae Grabs Lionel Messi And The FIFA World Cup Trophy

Football fans are feeling salty about Turkish chef and restauranteur Nusret Gökçe aka Salt Bae who inserted himself into Argentina’s World Cup win in Qatar on Sunday for a few snaps.

While Lionel Messi and his team were celebrating on the pitch after a dramatic win against France, the celebrity chef was seen grabbing Messi’s arm repeatedly to get his attention long enough for a selfie. 

The Argentinian football hero rebuffed Salt Bae a few times, before finally — and rather confusingly — posing for a photo with the controversial Instagram star.

Gökçe first rose to popularity, and gained his nickname, a few years ago when videos of him flamboyantly seasoning pieces of meat went viral.

He later became controversial for charging astronomical amounts at his restaurants. Obviously a fan of shiny things like the World Cup trophy, he serves gold flake-crusted steaks for US$1,160.

His antics at the World Cup have made him viral again, but maybe not for the reasons he wanted to.

Apart from the Messi mess, he was also seen trying his very best to pull the World Cup trophy from different players including Christian Romero who was celebrating with his young son. He was photographed holding the trophy, kissing it, “salting” it, and giving it a slap. 

The ire being not-so-flamboyantly sprinkled on Gökçe is focused on his multiple attempts at grabbing the trophy. It was a clear violation of the rules of FIFA. Only “a very select group of people” including former champions and heads of state (and maybe Rihanna, who’s technically royalty) are allowed to touch the trophy. At some point, he was also seen biting the medal of one of the players. Cringe.

In case you were curious, this is how it looked like on the ‘gram.

Gökçe’s presence on the pitch on Sunday is raising plenty of questions. As he was wearing a FIFA accreditation badge, many are speculating that this access was gained through his friendship with FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Infantino visited Gökçe’s Qatar restaurant during the World Cup, and has been captured on video praising the chef saying “Football unites the world and Nusret unites the world as well.”

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