Ukrainian and Arsenal football player Oleksandr Zinchenko subbed in for a player for his esports team, Passion UA.
Arsenal Football Club and Ukrainian star Oleksandr Zinchenko made an unusual cameo for his esports team, Passion UA, in a professional Counter-Strike match earlier today. The Arsenal left-back substituted for a player and took a map off against BLEED Esports in the YaLLa Compass Spring 2024.
Passion UA is a Ukrainian esports organization founded by Zinchenko and the former coach of NaVi and CSGO professional Mykhailo ‘Kane’ Blahin in 2023. The esports team primarily focuses on their Counter-Strike team. Zinchenko will be the primary sponsor for Passion UA; meanwhile, Kane will take on the role of Coach for the CS team.
Many professional football players have invested in Counter-Strike teams and even founded esports organizations. For example, former Manchester City and Argentina football superstar Sergio Aguero founded KRU Esports in 2020. Afterward, Lionel Messi joined KRU Esports as a co-owner at the end of 2023. But Oleksandr Zinchenko is the first footballer to enter a professional match in any esports event.
Zinchenko Steps In For His Team
In the Compass Spring 2024 Contenders Stage, Passion UA went up against BLEED Esports on February 8, 2024. Passion UA lost the first map in Inferno with a final score of 8-13 against BLEED. However, after the player faced some connection issues, Zinchenko subbed in for Eduard’ zeRRoFIX’ Petrovskyi in the second map, Ancient.
Zinchenko and the rest of the team won the map with a final score of 16-12, with the owner putting up decent statistics in the match. However, Passion UA lost the last map in Anubis with a final score of 11-13 and lost the match 2-1 against the tournament leader, BLEED. Even though Passion UA lost the match, Zinchenko performed well for his team.
This is not the first time Zinchenko participated in a professional match for his team. In December 2023, Zinchenko subbed in for zeRRoFiX, who could not participate in another tournament due to network issues against Illyrians. Zinchenko made his professional Counter-Strike debut against Illyrians and eventually won the match.
In 2023, Oleksandr Zinchenko participated in a charity match to raise funds for the war-affected people in Ukraine. In the event, Zinchenko played alongside legendary Counter-Strike players such as Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev and Yegor “markeloff” Markelov. The football star founded and invested in Passion UA because of his deep love for gaming and desire to contribute to the growth of esports in Ukraine.