THIS is the moment Salt Bae snatched the World Cup trophy from a winner’s baby after pestering Lionel Messi for a selfie.
Fifa was facing questions today over why the celebrity chef was allowed on the pitch following embarrassing scenes at the showpiece final.
Gary Lineker called Salt Bae a “pest” and former FA chairman Greg Dyke laid into world football boss Gianni Infantino as fury grew worldwide.
The Turkish cook and Instagram star – real name Nusret Gökçe – was seen wearing a Fifa VIP badge round his neck on Sunday night.
Footage shows him pestering the Argentina squad as they celebrate their cup glory with their families after the nailbiting shootout.
He was seen grabbing hold of Lionel Messi by the shoulder at least twice as the baffled megastar tried to shrug him off.
Bae’s persistence paid off as he finally got a selfie with the striker hailed the greatest of all time.
The chef was also seen forcing himself into lineups of other stars as they clutched the famous golden trophy.
At one point he was seen snatching it from Lisandro Martínez, who gave an awkward sideways glance at the bizarre interruption.
Gökçe also pretended to do his trademark salt-sprinkling trick over the trophy as irritated players stood by.
In another clip, Salt Bae is seen shaking his finger in a scolding gesture when Cristian Romero’s baby tries to touch the trophy.
Instead the chef pulled it away, kissed it and raised it above his head like a champion.
He also posted a series of proud pics on his Instagram page, showing him pawing and kissing the 18-carat gold trophy.
The disgraceful spectacle reportedly broke Fifa’s rules, which say only former winners and heads of state can handle the £17 million prize.
BBC host Gary Lineker shared footage of his attention seeking antics, saying: “He’s such a pest.”
Greg Dyke said: “I don’t think Fifa and Infantino have come out of this very well.”
Fifa has reportedly refused to say if Salt Bae was granted access to the pitch.
If he was given “access all areas” accreditation, that would open the governing body to allegations of cronyism or special treatment for Infantino’s friends, reports The Times.
Gökçe is said to be pals with controversial Fifa chief Infantino, who praised him as “number one” after visiting his Qatar steak house during the World Cup.
And he said: “Football unites the world and Nusret unites the world as well.”
Infantino was also filmed doing the salt sprinkling himself in a cringe-worthy video at Gökçe’s Dubai restaurant in 2020.
We have contacted Fifa for comment.
Other VIP guests at the final included Twitter billionaire Elon Musk and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
And French president Emmanuel Macron was slammed for his embarrassing attempts to console losing hattrick hero Kylian Mbappe.
The chef was slammed on Twitter as “pathetic” for his attention seeking antics, which were also described as the “cringiest thing ever”.
“The man’s just won the World Cup literally minutes before and this ‘celebrity’ is feeling he’s entitled to get his attention,” said one Twitter user.
“You shouldn’t touch the Cup. You’re not a champion,” was a second comment.
Another furious Instagram user said he was “unfollowing” the Turkish chef.
“You shouldn’t have touched that trophy only the players and staff who worked their asses off to become champions have that right.
You only want attention.
Continuing the theme, one post read, “This is the time for players who have worked hard and not for celebrities to hang around and take selfies for their own promo.”
Salt Bae isn’t the only celebrity to have fallen foul of Fifa etiquette.
Rihanna was pictured holding the prize back in 2014 and later revealed she had kissed and posed for a selfie with the famous trophy.
Salt Bae sparked fury before the World Cup after bragging about a £140,584 bill at his high-end restaurant.
A single steak from the evening was over £1000, and the group spent almost £115,000 on wine alone.
Salt Bae shot to fame in 2017 when a video of him lovingly preparing a steak by theatrically sprinkling a handful of salt crystals quickly went viral.
Nusret quickly became a celebrity in his own right, cooking for celebrities like David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio, and DJ Khaled.
He opened his first Nusr-Et steakhouse in Istanbul in 2010.
The brand grew, and he opened restaurants across the Middle East, including in Ankara, Doha and Dubai.
In 2021, he opened the first London Branch of the chain in the posh area of Knightsbridge.