Since leagues around the world are blocked due to the COVID 19 virus, many football players have turned to their consoles to continue playing without the risk of infection. For some time now, more and more professionals have been dealing with the virtual side of the sport when they are not playing the real thing. Some invest in teams, others own them, and some even hang their boots to fully devote themselves to the electronic version of the game. We present several professional footballers who are part of the world of FIFA eSports.
The 2014 world champion, who is known as a passionate player, founded his own eSports team, M10 eSports, four years after winning the World Cup Trophy. After immediately hiring the then reigning FIFA eClub world champion FIFA Ustun, his FIFA team currently consists of Dutchman Levy Frederique and Indian Siddh Chandarana. The squad of the attacking midfielder from Arsenal includes a FIFA team as well as a Fortnite team.
Shortly before the FIFA eClub World Cup 2020, the qualified team Ellevens surprised the eSports world by revealing the identity of its co-owner – none other than Gareth Bale. The former FIFA club world champion with Real Madrid was involved in the team for the first time after his shirt number last year. After an incredible tournament for their two players “Elevens Resende” and “EthxnH”, the newly formed team secured second place in the virtual version of the Club World Cup.
The AC Milan captain founded the Romagnoli team at the end of last year and immediately participated in the qualification for the FIFA eClub World Cup 2020, in which the team was represented by ‘nbd2699’ and ‘EmilianoDGianni’. Even though the couple missed a spot in the tournament in week four of qualification, their talent was evident and they are sure to cause some shocks in future editions of the FIFA eClub World Cup.
Christian Fuchs’ NoFuchsGiven eSports team was also unable to qualify for this year’s competition but is still strongly represented in the eSports scene. They were at the tournament last year when the team consisted of 2016 World Champion MoBacha and his last opponent that year, Sean Allen. After the group phase, they were eliminated with 11 points. Several FIFA professionals are currently under contract with the former Austrian international, including Lisa Manley, Remi Thomas, and others.
One of the youngest professional footballers to become FIFA eSports team owner is the 2018 French world champion Antoine Griezmann. He founded Griz Esport with his brother Theo Griezmann earlier this year and they have already started to compete for numerous eSports titles, including EA SPORTS FIFA 20.
The Werder Bremen midfielder has already participated in the FIFA eClub World Cup as an investor in futbolist. The team made a name for itself at the virtual Club World Cup last year and was among the four best teams in the world. The Turkish team is the most successful FIFA eSports team from Istanbul.
Mesut Ozil is not the only Arsenal player with a passion for the competitive FIFA scene. German goalkeeper Bernd Leno is currently overseeing a team of five FIFA eSports players who have demonstrated their skills in competitions such as the Virtual Bundesliga. One of his players, Jan-Niklas Flock, even qualified for the Grand Final of the Virtual Bundesliga.
As an icon in the FIFA game series, the former Dutch international became interested in the competition from EA SPORTS FIFA early on and even presented the trophy to the world champion at the 2017 Grand Final in London. Several FIFA eSports players, including several from the Netherlands, are currently signed to the UEFA EURO 1988 Champions eSports Academy.
The 2015 FIFA Puskás Award winner, Wendell Lira, is more than just an eSports manager. The Brazilian decided to hang up his soccer shoes and instead look for goals on the virtual pitch. He currently represents the Portuguese club Sporting CP Esports, which qualified with two of its players for the 2020 FIFA eClub World Cup and reached the quarter-finals. The former professional footballer has already qualified for the FUT Champions Cups and is among the top 100 in the world.
The players who follow Wendell Lira’s leadership and try their luck in eSport in addition to their day job on a real pitch include former defensive midfielder from RB Leipzig, Diego Demme, Sascha Mockenhaupt from SV Wehen Wiesbaden and Julian Riedel from Hansa Rostock.
Argentine international Eduardo ‘Toto’ Salvio has not only invested in the TS Warrior player of the eSports team – “TS” stands for the Toto Salvio Warrior player – he also owns a company that makes PlayStation and Xbox controllers. The TS Warrior squad currently consists of “RastaArtur” and “Tuga810”, both of whom represented Portugal at the first FIFA eNations Cup 2019. The pair are currently among the top four Portuguese players on FIFA.gg