FIFA issue response to World Cup final actions
FIFA are investigating how celebrity chef ‘Salt Bae’ got access to the pitch following the 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France last weekend.
The restaurant owner, known for his bizarre salt sprinkling technique and wildly expensive food – even including steak with gold leaf, was seen on the pitch with Argentina players following their victory.
Real name Nusret Gokce, he posed with the newly crowned World Cup champions and has been heavily criticised for his actions in recent days.
Some videos published to social media appear to show a number of the Argentina players looking uncomfortable at his presence. In one exchange, Gokce appeared to be trying to converse with Lionel Messi, who seemed to want to move away from him.
Gokce was also seen holding and kissing the World Cup trophies, even taking it out of the hands of some Argentina players in video clips posted online.
FIFA rules actually state that only World Cup winners and heads of state are allowed to touch the World Cup trophy during closing ceremony celebrations.
The world governing body has also confirmed to Sky Sports News that ‘Salt Bae’, although wearing some kind of ID on a lanyard around his neck, was not authorised to be on the pitch.
A statement issued by FIFA read, “Following a review, FIFA has been establishing how individuals gained undue access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail stadium on 18 December. The appropriate internal action will be taken.”
An historic video has since surfaced showing FIFA president Gianni Infantino getting the ‘Salt Bae’ treatment at one of his restaurants. But there is thought to be no commercial or official relationship that would have allowed Gokce to be in the areas that he was after Sunday’s final.
Infantino is even now thought to have unfollowed ‘Salt Bae’ on Instagram.
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Why Pele wanted Lionel Messi & Argentina to win 2022 World Cup
The daughter of the late Pele has revealed that the footballing legend wanted bitter rivals Argentina to win the 2022 World Cup for Lionel Messi after Brazil’s elimination.
After a battle with cancer, Pele passed away at the age of 82 on December 29 2022, 11 days after the World Cup final.
He spent much of the tournament in Qatar in palliative care and surrounded by family.
Pele’s beloved Brazil were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Croatia on penalties, missing out on a South American showdown with Argentina.
His daughter, Kely Nascimento, shared a story about her father on Instagram after bumping into Messi’s wife, Antonela Roccuzzo.
Nascimento wrote: “Story time: This is the very beautiful and graceful Antonela Roccuzzo, Messi’s wife.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Messi so when I met her in that magical place of every party (the ladies’ room) I passed him a message through her.
“By the time Brazil lost against Croatia my dad was getting a lot worse. Everybody wanted Brazil to win this cup for my dad, nobody more than the national team!
“But my father understood better than most what football is like. And it was really this possibility that any team could win that he always talked about that he loved about this beautiful game.
“After the defeat of Brazil every person who entered that hospital room (all day and every day until the final!!!) said: “Hey Pele? Now who do you want? Of course Argentina NO!
“And he would say “Argentina yes! This cup has to stay in South America and Messi deserves it!
“Everyone was pretending (and sometimes not pretending) horror!!! HOW?! Argentina!!!?
“And he would simply say ‘yes, Messi deserves it’.
“He wasn’t getting to watch TV in the final anymore, but he understood that Argentina won and Messi got to lift the cup, and he was happy.
“Long live football.”
Thiago Silva hits out at ‘joke’ ranking for Julian Alvarez at The Best awards
Chelsea and Brazil centre-back Thiago Silva has questioned how Julian Alvarez secured a seventh-place finish at FIFA’s The Best awards recently.
Alvarez impressed with Argentina as La Albiceleste won the World Cup during the winter but has struggled for minutes since joining Manchester City in the summer, starting just six Premier League games as he competes with Erling Haaland.
Despite that, Alvarez still managed to rack up enough points to finish seventh in the award rankings, beating the likes of Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne, Vinicius Junior and Robert Lewandowski.
Only Sadio Mane, Haaland, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and eventual winner Lionel Messi picked up more votes than Alvarez.
The Man City striker’s place on the list has attracted plenty of criticism from fans who argued that the impact of the World Cup played too much of a role in deciding the final rankings, and it seems as though Silva agrees.
“It’s a joke,” Silva wrote on Instagram in response to a post which questioned Alvarez’s final standing.
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The award was partly voted for by fans, with Alvarez picking up the third most votes among supporters, behind only Mbappe and Messi.
Nine of his 15 points came from the fan vote, although the City striker still managed to pick up six from the rest of the voting, which was conducted by coaches, captains and journalists from countries across the world.
Silva himself voted for international teammate Neymar to win the award, with Messi second and Benzema in third.
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