Salt Bae unearths clip of 2018 meeting with Lionel Messi amid backlash

Long-lost pals! Celeb-chasing chef Salt Bae unearths footage of himself meeting with Lionel Messi – and posing together – in Dubai four years ago… after Argentina’s captain BLANKED the steakhouse magnate at the World Cup

  • Salt Bae was criticised online for invading Argentina’s World Cup celebrations
  • The famous chef grabbed the trophy and posed with players after Sunday’s final
  • By holding the World Cup, Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gokce, breached FIFA rules
  • He also appeared to be blanked by Lionel Messi before his trophy lift in Qatar
  • talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan felt his cameo was an example of FIFA ‘cronyism’
  • But Salt Bae has responded by sharing footage of his 2018 meeting with Messi
  • The Argentina captain previously visited one of his steak restaurants in Dubai
  • In the clip, Messi shaked hands with the culinary celebrity before hugging him

Salt Bae has fired back at his critics by digging out unearthed footage of his 2018 meeting with Lionel Messi after the steakhouse magnate was mocked for his embarrassing World Cup final cameo on Sunday night.

Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gokce, was seen desperately trying to join in Argentina’s celebrations after their dramatic win over France, with a series of cringeworthy videos showing his awkward attempts to hold the trophy and pose for pictures alongside the likes of Angel di Maria and Lisandro Martinez.

In another clip which surfaced online, Gokce also appeared to be blanked by Messi in an uncomfortable exchange as he tried to get the PSG superstar’s attention before his long-awaited trophy lift at the Lusail Stadium.

Salt Bae has fired back at his critics by sharing footage of his 2018 meeting with Lionel Messi

A post shared by Nusr_et#Saltbae (@nusr_et)

Fans were quick to blast Salt Bae for pestering Messi after the final in Qatar, taking to Twitter to brand his post-match antics ‘absurd’.

However, amid criticism of his behaviour on the night, the culinary celebrity has responded by sharing footage that shows him meeting Messi and posing with the Argentina captain back in 2018.

After enjoying a meal with then-Man United midfielder Paul Pogba at one of Salt Bae’s restaurants in Dubai, Messi can be seen shaking hands with the restaurateur and even enjoying a hug before posing for a picture.

He captioned the post on Instagram: ‘the champion @leomessi #saltbae #saltlife #salt’.

Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gokce, was mocked for invading Argentina’s celebrations in Qatar 

One clip even showed Messi blanking Salt Bae as he pestered the Argentina captain on Sunday

But Salt Bae has shared footage of his meeting with Messi in 2018, which looked much warmer

The pair even embraced for a hug after Messi and Paul Pogba enjoyed food in his restaurant

Another clip posted at the time showed Messi and Pogba witnessing Salt Bae’s trademark steak-cutting and salt-sprinkling techniques first hand, which both players even attempted to recreate themselves.

Messi’s previous meeting with Salt Bae seemed a much friendlier affair than their reunion in Qatar, where the former Barcelona man failed to pay too much attention to him before briefly giving in to pose for a photo.

In the Twitter video captioned ‘Even Messi knows salt bae is a hack’, furious fans questioned why he was even allowed onto the pitch.

One fan said: ‘F***ng absurd. Who let Saltbae out on the pitch? Saw a bunch of photos of him HOLDING the World Cup trophy, and even a picture of him biting on a medal. 

‘At least Messi knew not to give that guy trying to make THEIR moment about HIM any attention. Desperately grabbing Messi.’

Simon Jordan also took aim at FIFA over Salt Bae’s cameo, accusing world football’s governing body of ‘cronyism’.

Messi previously dined at one of the steakhouse magnate’s many establishments back in 2018

The then-Barcelona star was even fed by Salt Bae during his visit to the restaurant in Dubai

‘It defies convention, it breaks protocol,’ Jordan said on talkSPORT. ‘It looks like cronyism, it smells like cronyism, it walks and talks like cronyism, so guess what it is? It’s bleeding cronyism.

‘It’s unprofessional. There’s no place for him. He shouldn’t have been on the pitch.’ 

In light of Salt Bae’s uncomfortable antics, FIFA are also facing questions as to how the celebrity chef gained access to the pitch and managed to come in touching distance of the trophy.

Football’s governing body have very strict rules surrounding the World Cup trophy, with a very specific list of those allowed to touch it on their website. 

‘Its current design dates back to 1974,’ FIFA’s website reads. ‘As one of the most recognised sports symbols in the world and a priceless icon, the original Fifa World Cup Trophy can only be touched and held by a very select group of people, which includes former winners of the Fifa World Cup and heads of state.’

Simon Jordan felt Salt Bae’s appearance after the final was an example of ‘cronyism’ from FIFA 

While he is a friend of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Gokce does not fall under any of the criteria above and therefore appears to be in contravention of these guidelines.

The famous chef has developed friendships with countless celebrities since being thrust into the spotlight in 2017, when a video of his trademark salt-sprinkling techique went viral online.

Several football stars visit his restaurants on a regular basis, with England players Ben White and Kalvin Phillips seen at his Mykonos establishment after Euro 2020 last year. 

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