French football star Franck Ribery on Saturday launched a foul-mouthed response after he was criticised for eating a gold-coated steak, telling his critics: "I will spend my money how I like".
On Thursday, the 35-year-old Bayern Munich player had posted a video on social media of a visit to a steak house owned by celebrity Turkish restauranteur Salt Bae and rubbing his hands before tucking into a huge chop coated in gold.
That ostentatious luxury drew ferocious criticism before Ribery - who earns an estimated eight million euros a year with the German champions - hit back.
"I owe you nothing, my success is above all thanks to God," Ribery said. "To me, to my relatives and to those who believed in me, for the others, you were only pebbles in my socks."
The meal was in Dubai where Salt Bae owns the Nusr-Et restaurant.
Golden steak, coated in 24-carat gold, is one of Salt Bae's signature dishes and is said to cost AED1,200 ($325).
Later Saturday, Bayern said that while they did not condone Ribery's words, the issue was a "private matter".
In his second Tweet, Ribery castigated "pseudo-journalists" who are always "negative".
One of the journalists who had criticised Ribery was Audrey Pulvar, a celebrity in France and president of the charitable Nicolas Hulot foundation.
She had Tweeted "Mr. @FranckRibery if you do not know what to do with your money, there are plenty of causes to fund and support, worldwide."
Ribery's third Tweet on Saturday showed Pulvar wearing a pair of glasses that he said cost 3,000 euros and said: "I do what I want with my money."
"When I donate (because I was taught to give when I earn a lot...) Why does not a major national media broadcast that? No, you prefer to talk about the holidays that I go on with my family, you scrutinise my actions, what I eat, etc!" Ribery wrote.
Ummah Charity, an "international humanitarian aid organisation" based in suburban Paris tweeted: "Without any intention to justify anything, we confirm that @FranckRibery is one of our most generous donors. Thanks to him and his wife who spend lavishly to finance our humanitarian activities..."
Bayern, where Ribery is reportedly in his last season, are holding a winter training camp in Qatar.
In November, Ribery insulted and attacked a Patrick Guillou, a former player who is now a pundit on French TV, after a match in Dortmund. Bayern made Ribery post a video apology on the club web site.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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