eGames

‘It’s funny to see your face in that game’

A European Cup winner in the real and digital worlds, Ruud Gullit has embraced the rise of esports

ILLUSTRATION Raj Dhunna

Three decades on from his two Champions League wins with AC Milan, Ruud Gullit achieved a different kind of double in a different kind of European Cup final in May – namely, by featuring for both teams in the inaugural eChampions League final in Madrid, an EA Sports event.

Such is his rating in the FIFA 20 game that both finalists put the dreadlocked Dutch legend in their line-ups. “It’s funny to see your own face in that game,” says Gullit, who has taken an active interest in the esports world. “Your movement looks like you. I’m really proud of that: a whole new generation knows you from FIFA.”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Three decades on from his two Champions League wins with AC Milan, Ruud Gullit achieved a different kind of double in a different kind of European Cup final in May – namely, by featuring for both teams in the inaugural eChampions League final in Madrid, an EA Sports event.

Such is his rating in the FIFA 20 game that both finalists put the dreadlocked Dutch legend in their line-ups. “It’s funny to see your own face in that game,” says Gullit, who has taken an active interest in the esports world. “Your movement looks like you. I’m really proud of that: a whole new generation knows you from FIFA.”

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Indeed, it was the virtual Gullit’s iconic status that led the real Ruud to dive deeper into the digital game. He launched his Team Gullit academy in 2018, setting up a coaching structure for promising youngsters – including Zezinho, who reached the eChampions League semi-finals with Gullit’s stable before going on to join Benfica. “I enjoy the fact that we’re making transfers,” says the former Oranje great. “That’s the reward we get: our players getting to big clubs.”

How does coaching in an esports academy work in practice? “When I have meetings with players and their parents, we make arrangements about how much they’ll play [per day] because a lot of them are in school,” says Gullit. “This is a proper sport. It has an image of geeks in a basement but now a lot of people play this seriously.

“The kids live at home; you don’t need to actually be there,” he adds, explaining that his coaches speak to them via headsets. “The trainers do all the work, of course – but I always want to know what’s going on.”

Three decades on from his two Champions League wins with AC Milan, Ruud Gullit achieved a different kind of double in a different kind of European Cup final in May – namely, by featuring for both teams in the inaugural eChampions League final in Madrid, an EA Sports event.

Such is his rating in the FIFA 20 game that both finalists put the dreadlocked Dutch legend in their line-ups. “It’s funny to see your own face in that game,” says Gullit, who has taken an active interest in the esports world. “Your movement looks like you. I’m really proud of that: a whole new generation knows you from FIFA.”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.