Professional Footballer Quits To Become Professional FIFA Player

How often have you seen people quit a real life sport to become a professional at the virtual version of their sport? This might actually be the first.

If you don't follow football, there's a good chance you might not know the name Wendell Lira. He's a professional footballer. And while he wasn't earning the kind of money that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have flowing out of their bank accounts, in 2015 he won something they didn't: the Puskas Award, an honour dedicated to the best goal scored that year.

Pretty agile bloke, Lira is. But he's had enough of playing professional football. At least in the real world — because outlets are reporting that the 2015 Puskas Award winner has officially retired to concentrate on his new career as a FIFA player.

"I had the dream of being a gamer, I always had this desire to live it," the 27-year-old Brazilian footballer said, according to a translation from SBS News. "It is not the end of a dream. In fact, God has given me the opportunity to have this job as a follow-up in my life, being happy and continuing with that smile."

Lira doesn't enter the world of virtual FIFA as a complete unknown. After winning the Puskas Award, the 2015 winner of the FIFA Interactive World Cup — Saudi Arabian Abdulaziz Alshehri — challenged the Brazilian to a game.

The result? Lira beat the snot out of Alshehri 6-1.

And with major sporting clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City and FC Schalke recruiting their own gamers, Lira's defection to virtual football might be an incredibly savvy move.


    Professional sportsmen are lucky if they have long careers. Gamers are even luckier to have one that lasts half a decade.

    But if he's got game, why the hell not?

    Last edited 29/07/16 7:14 pm

    The title is misleading asf, I thought he went from playing football to soccer.

    Whoever wrote this clearly loves fast kicking, low scoring and games that end in ties.

    Last edited 29/07/16 8:40 pm

      Misleading to someone who takes more notice of football (yes, the one with the round ball, not aerial ping pong, thugby union or moronball) than to video games (on a gaming website, no less...).

    I can't even handle those teeth in the header picture. They look like he's wearing badly fitting dentures.

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