Professional soccer player quits to play soccer videogame for a living

Living the dream?

Wendell Lira, 27, is an award-winning soccer player from Brazil. Most recently playing for Vila Nova, he served as part of Brazil's national team in 2006 and earlier this year received the 2015 FIFA Puskas Award for best goal. He's also, it seems, a big fan of EA Sports' FIFA series, so much so that he's decided to quit the field and try his hand as a professional esports player.

"My dream is to become FIFA world champion," Lira told GloboEsporte, as reported in English by the BBC.

To be clear, Lira's decision isn't totally motivated by videogames: he's also facing down persistent sports injuries. Turning to esports, then, is a means by which Lira can stay involved in the sport while still leveraging his talents and fanbase to potentially make a living. Here are some further comments on his decision, machine-translated (and cleaned up to the best of my ability):

"There were several factors [to quitting]. One of the main ones was my disappointments in football. I had serious problems, surgeries, [fatigue]. [I was tired of the] many lies, dirty people, I wanted to leave again. God gave me this wonderful award [the FIFA Puskas Award], which will immortalize me for the rest of my life. [...] But I always had a dream for my life. I dreamed of a wonderful project."

Lira plans to launch a YouTube channel and enmesh himself in the FIFA competitive scene, which sees top players from around the world competing for some pretty decent-sized prize pools.

Top image source: Eduardo Deconto, GloboEsporte.

(h/t VG247, BBC.)