Professional footballer Wendell Lira has announced his intention to retire from the sport – in order to compete in FIFA instead.
The BBC reports that the Brazilian striker is going out while he’s still on top, leaving the game behind after winning FIFA’s Puskás Award for the best goal of 2015 in a 2-1 game between Goianesia and Atletico Goianiense.
At 27, Lira revealed that there was a bit more to the decision to hang up his football boots than an interest in the FIFA videogame franchise – he also cited regular injuries.
And to be fair, the worst thing that can happen while playing a game of FIFA 17 is likely to be hand or butt cramp.
The next step for Lira is to set up a YouTube channel, where he intends to show off his virtual football prowess to the world.
With any luck, this pro player’s decision to step away from the real thing and pursue the virtual will be a genuine step towards the mainstream seeing eSports as a legitimate thing.
Then again, you have to wonder if Lira will begin to miss playing the game for real after a while. Perhaps when he becomes FIFA world champion, he’ll retire from that and get back to real world football.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.