For most of us, gaming is a fun escape from the realities of work, life, and so on, there to provide a change from the demanding pace of modern day living, and the same is true for professional athletes.
Just as our heroes will spend all day grinding CSGO, only to relax with some Fortnite in their spare time, many of the stars of the FIFA World Cup also enjoy winding down with their console, PC or maybe mobile once the running and shouting is complete for the day.
But what will your heroes decide to play? When Messi is all cried out after training, when the England team have wrestled back the mobile phones and watches Harry Kane ‘claimed’ in the dressing room, when Neymar has finished asking every single hotel porter in Volgograd if they know who he is, what do they want to spend their time playing?
Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard – in case you hadn’t noticed, there are a few in the England team that like a bit of Fortnite. Lingard has incorporated some of the dances into his goal celebrations, adding a new element of dread to those who already dislike seeing Man Utd score, while Alli has played a few games on stream too. With in-game accuracy not what it could be, it would be easy to draw a line between Alli’s poor form and his time in-game, but Lingard doesn’t seem to be suffering for time spent on the island.
Neymar – Speaking of islands, PSG and Brazil star looks to be an increasingly isolated figure at the moment, playing a one-man game on the pitch and constantly fielding questions about his future off it, despite not having been in Paris a year. In his spare time, he likes to play to lone wolf as well, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds gives him that chance. With nobody to bring his squad down, he can focus entirely on the game, knowing any glory is his alone, and need not be shared.
Gabriel Jesus – with captain and team mate Neymar a gamer who has shown a passion for both PUBG and CSGO, it’s possible that influence has rubbed off on his younger team mates. Among them is rising star Gabriel Jesus, already an important part of the Man City team and increasingly involved with Brazil, and he is a big fan of CSGO. All the clichés work for the striker in a first person shooter, and with Brazil mad for their CS it’s nice to see that passion extend all the way to their stars.
Lionel Messi – if you are the god of football, you’d think the idea of playing virtual football in your spare time would be a bit mundane, but apparently that is not the case for the little genius. Away from destroying the best footballers in the world, the man named after Lionel Ritchie likes to relax with a game of FIFA, where he has the unique experience of being able to do way less in the virtual world that he can in real life, unlike the rest of us.
Pepe – there are some people who are the best of the best, and others that make up the numbers, especially in international sport. Portugal defender Pepe once had a claim to being among the elite, just like his game of choice Destiny, but today he has aged, and not well. Similarly, Destiny has gone from being one of the most interesting and profitable games of the time to a joke franchise, but some people still love a whirl, and we wonder if Pepe is still chasing Vex around mercury when he’s not playing for Portugal.
Hordor Magnusson - we know, you've been waiting for a big name for a while now, and we'll deliver. Iceland's Magnusson apparently became friends and NBA rivals with Paul Pogba in their time together at Juventus, and we wonder if they'll be sitting down together for a friendly game of NBA 2k18 between matches for their respective nations this month.
Let's not forget...
Italy – they aren’t here now, but back in 2006 Italy were World Champions, invading and conquering Germany in way that hasn’t been seen since a very predictable World War 2 joke, and their maestro was a man named Andrea Pirlo. The passing master spent the afternoon playing FIFA before winning the World Cup in the evening, even going as far as to say in his autobiography that "After the wheel, the PlayStation is the greatest invention of all time”.