As 180m fans tuned into Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final, they were joined by recently crowned Pro Evolution Soccer champ Rachid Tebane.
The French winner of Konami’s 2015 PES World Finals watched Barcelona beat Juventus 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin just hours after winning his own title - and ?15,000.
Rachid fought off entrants from Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK through the quarter-finals taking place as part of the UEFA Champions Festival, a run up of events preceding the European football final.
“Huge congratulations to Rachid, who faced a tough battle to secure his title,” said Erik Bladinieres, Director of Football for Konami. “This was a suitably exciting tournament with all the surprises and thrills that you expect of a real top-level tournament. Thanks to all those who attended, and commiserations to those who fell at the final hurdles this year.”
Those falling at the last hurdles included Rachid’s opposition in the final, Austrian Matthias Luttenberger, who (in prophecy of the night’s action on the pitch) forced Rachid to a tense 3-2 finish, taking home ?5,000 himself. Third place’s Ron Strikel, of Israel, also earned ?2,000, as well as the congratulations of European Division boss Shinji Hirano.
PES has yet to see the eSports uptake of its rival, EA’s FIFA perennial series, however a niche but loyal and comparatively engaged fanbase could foster the environment for a competitive scene to grow. Further partnerships with UEFA to balance out the endemic promotion FIFA receives could also prove to be important investments in the future.