Barcelona icon Ronaldinho and departing Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos are to renew their El Clásico rivalry one final time after agreeing to go head-to-head on EA SPORTS™ FIFA 21 as part of international charity esports festival, Gamers Without Borders.
Barca’s former Samba superstar and Los Blancos’ four-time Champions League winning defender – who announced earlier this week that he is to leave Real Madrid after 16 years – have been recruited to play in the $10million online gaming extravaganza, the world’s biggest charity esports event, after calling each other out in a game of one-upmanship on Twitter.
Ronaldinho started the exchange yesterday afternoon by sending Ramos a photograph of him about to beat the Madrid legend at an iconic meeting of the two European giants from back in 2007.
Uploaded with the caption “Hey @SergioRamos – remember this night?!”, the image was of Ronaldinho on the verge of dribbling past the outgoing Madrid centre-half at FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium.
Not willing to let the post pass, Ramos responded to the tweet with his own photograph: an image of his Real Madrid side celebrating winning that year’s La Liga title with an open-top bus tour through the Spanish capital.
Both players were then propositioned by Gamers Without Borders to compete in the festival’s weekend EA SPORTS™ FIFA 21 tournament for a $50k charity prize-fund, an offer they both accepted.
The pair – legends with both club and country – will now go head-to-head on EA SPORTS™ FIFA 21 live on Gamers Without Borders’ Facebook, YouTube and Twitch streams this Sunday, kicking-off at 12pm CEST, where they will chat to one another while playing before being interviewed in the esports festival’s unique virtual studio.
They will be in good company too, as Gamers Without Borders will also be welcoming Britain’s reigning world heavyweight champion boxer, Anthony Joshua. ‘AJ’ – a playable character in EA SPORTS™ FIFA 21’s "Volta" mode – will slug it out with Manchester United and England midfielder Jesse Lingard on the same game on Monday, with their match also getting underway at 12pm CEST.
Ronaldinho said: “It continues to be such a tough period for so many people across the globe impacted by COVID-19, especially in Brazil. Gamers Without Borders is a brilliant way for the gamers all over the world to come together and support these charities fighting COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout. I’m excited to connect and face off with Sergio once again…and show him I’ve still got some game!”
Anthony Joshua added: “I’m a massive FIFA 21 fan and, like millions across the world, gaming has helped us stay close to mates recently - no matter where we are. It’s a powerful community who can come together to do good as we try to knockout COVID-19. Jesse has been in decent form on the pitch, but let’s see what he’s got in the virtual world where I’ve a chance at least!”
The $50k charity exhibition matches are part of an epic opening weekend of the Gamers Without Borders’ elite series, an initiative created by the Saudi Esports Federation.
The festival’s elite series is six weeks of world-class tournament action featuring the biggest and best esports athletes on the planet. It starts on Saturday with EA SPORTS™ FIFA 21, where more than 30 gamers including the likes of Tekkz, MsDossary and MoAuba competing for a $1.5m share of Gamers Without Borders’ charity prize fund.
Once won, that money will be donated by the champion gamers directly to humanitarian organisations leading COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts in the world’s vulnerable nations: UNICEF, Gavi, Direct Relief, the International Medical Corps and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre.
Saturday’s opening day action will be followed by a live virtual gig by Dutch DJ/producer Nicky Romero, starting at 8.30pm CEST, which will be streamed live on the Gamers Without Borders’ YouTube, Facebook and Twitch channels.
That afternoon will also see popular content creators bateson87 and Zweback go head-to-head for charity, with another $50k on the line. To get involved or simply to find out more, head to www.gamerswithoutborders.com
Full schedule of celebrity matches:
Show Match 1 – June 19 (12pm CEST): bateson87 vs Zweback
Show Match 2 - June 20 (12pm CEST): Ronaldinho v Sergio Ramos
Show Match 3 - June 21 (12CEST): Anthony Joshua v Jesse Lingard