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Why Are World Footballers So Obsessed With Salt Bae?

The world's biggest sporting stars are flocking to hang out with a Turkish butcher who went viral in a meme.

Apparently, to be a footballer, you have to meet Salt Bae.

Salt Bae, or his real name, Nusret Gökçe is the Turkish butcher and chef who gained international fame after a meme of him sprinkling salt on to a steak went viral.

Image: Instagram/ Nusret Gökçe

Before his viral meme fame, he was already somewhat-known as a restaurateur, having opened his first restaurant in Turkey in 2010. He now has restaurants throughout the US, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha.

His flair and impressive knife skills have made his a popular attraction in Dubai, not to mention his trademark salt-sprinkling pose.

His New York restaurant, which opened last year, hasn't received favourable reviews -- particularly about the OBSCENE amount of money diners are paying for their meals.

Standard steaks price in at between $100 and $385 AUD.

But as it turns out, to know you've made it as a footballer, you have to have met the great knife-wielding man himself.

Here's a few names of those who have met the guy.

  • Lionel Messi
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Mo Salah
  • Luka Modric
  • Sergio Ramos

  • Paul Pogba
  • Karim Benzema
  • Kevin de Bruyne
  • Sergio Aguero
  • Alvaro Morata

  • Manuel Neuer
  • Cesc Fabregas
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • Gary Cahill
  • Mesut Ozil

  • Franck Ribery
  • Emerson Palmieri
  • Mario Gotze
  • Ashley Young
  • Diego Maradona

  • David Beckham
  • Rio Ferdinand
  • Robin van Persie
  • Ronaldinho
  • the entire West Ham team.

You get the picture.

Most of these meetings have happened in Dubai, where Gökçe is based.

Dubai is a favourite getaway for footballers -- it's  a relatively close distance to Europe meaning they can escape to sunnier weather during the dreary winter months over their short breaks.

Other players copy his salt-sprinkling pose with posts on social media, while others have used it as a goal celebration.

Arsenal's Danny Wellbeck and Doria of Marseille both got on the Salt Bae bandwagon last year when they celebrated scoring.

Danny Welbeck and Dora. Image: Getty Images/ Twitter

Over the weekend, Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery travelled to Dubai, like many before him, to dine with Gökçe.

READ MORE: Footballer Fined After Filthy Response To Eating $500 Gold-Coated Steak

He was roasted online for his 24 carat gold leaf plated steak, which costs a mere $500AUD.

But the Bayern sporting director, Hasan Salihamidzi, defended his player, and claimed Ribery had been invited to the restaurant and did not pay for his meal.

The steak reportedly costs almost $AU 500. Photo: Franck Ribery / Twitter.

So maybe these players aren't as obsessed as it seems?

Maybe they are just going for a free feed. We can understand that.

But the real question here -- is the steak any good?

Feature Image: Instagram/ Nusret Gökçe