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Salt Bae Thinks He’s On The Team

Turkish chef Salt Bae poses with World Cup trophy.
Robert Michael/Getty Images

Emmanuel Macron deserves the honor of being the most desperate guy skulking around in the aftermath of Sunday's World Cup final, but Salt Bae can easily take second place.

The Turkish restauranteur (real name Nusret Gökçe) somehow had the proper credentials to walk around the field after Argentina beat France, possibly because he's had basically every soccer player, athlete, and notable celebrity as a guest at one of his restaurants in which he more or less violates the meat with his gloved hands. He's also hosted Piers Morgan.

As a longtime follower of Nusret's Instagram—he mainly promotes his restaurant but mixes in some shirtless workout videos—I've picked up on a lot of his patterns. Aside from the internationally known tic of him sprinkling salt down his elbow, he's developed other recurring bits, like saying "Wowwww," or "Cappuccinooooo," and he'll get these well-known athletes to participate with him. Occasionally, he'll cut a piece of rare steak lengthwise, jam some sizzling stuff in it, fold it back over, and hold up the dripping mess for the camera, creating an awful and unintentional homage to Georgia O'Keeffe.

Yesterday, Nusret took some time off from his workouts and sprinkling salt on rare steaks so he could watch a fantastic World Cup final. Then he tried to get photos with basically every member of the winning team. Lionel Messi originally blew him off:

But Salt Bae got the pic eventually. Messi looks thrilled!

There was a weird little moment with Ángel Di María, who unwittingly co-starred in a classic "Wowwww" bit:

There was also this clip of Salt Bae next to Argentina's Cristian Romero, who clearly wanted to keep his hands on both his child and the trophy, but eventually surrendered the latter to the chef so he could hoist it with his meaty paws:

Yes, he did the salt thing:

Finally, a gallery of all the other photos Salt Bae took:

The British papers were incensed that this non-soccer-playing chef would touch the trophy, but that doesn't mean much, since British papers exist to be incensed about everything. According to FIFA's site, the 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," though that rule doesn't appear to be heavily enforced. Salt Bae is more guilty of being a buffoon here, but he's also unwittingly encapsulated a central theme of the atmosphere surrounding the Qatar World Cup: a horny steak man with a restaurant in Doha thinking that he's on the team.

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