Footballer Neal Maupay visits Counter-Strike Blast Premier Spring Final in London

Neal Maupay at Blast Premier Spring Final

In this special series of articles, Esports News UK’s coverage of the Blast Spring Final 2024 is in collaboration with the betting partner GGBET UK | Photo by Blast Premier / Stephanie Lindgren (@Vexanie)

French Premier League footballer Neal Maupay (pictured left) has been spotted enjoyed the Blast Premier Spring Final at Wembley Arena.

The striker for Brentford was snapped in the crowd on Friday as Vitality bested Faze in the first quarter final.

Maupay even had a special delivery for Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire (pictured above, right) – they were catching up together back stage as the striker handed Vitality’s in-game leader a Brentford kit, with Maupay’s name and number on the back.

Maupay said on Instagram: “I’m a massive gamer and huge Counter-Strike fan so it was amazing to attend the Blast Spring Final today to watch apEX and Team Vitality. Thanks for having me, Blast Premier.”

The Frenchman got some great downtime just 5.8 miles away from Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium, while his country’s national team are set to kick off their Euro 2024 campaign in Germany on Monday.

Maupay has not been called up to the French national team, so won’t be playing in the Euros.

Who is Neal Maupay, the footballer spotted at Blast Premier Spring Final?

While he is technically contracted to Everton, Maupay spent the season on loan to Brentford, who he made a name for himself with in the Championship in the 2018/19 season.

The French striker will return to Everton now with his future in the Premier League uncertain.

Maupay finished the season with 31 appearances, eight goals and three assists for Brentford.

But despite his ability in front of goal, the French striker is best known for his ability to wind absolutely anybody up though – no English football fan would have yet forgotten how Arsenal Fan TV went viral for losing their heads over his antics in 2020 (cue Arsenal fan Ty saying: “Maupay, you’re a cheat, I hope Brighton get relegated”).

It prompted Instagram user t_c.2003 to comment: “Maupay the type of guy to full buy on an eco round.”

Football and Counter-Strike are closer than you think

Maupay is by far not the first footballer to declare their love for Counter-Strike.

The game has a bit of a demographic crossover with football, as outlined this week by Daniel Offen, Data & Insights Lead at Unlocked, at the ESI London conference. The average Counter-Strike fan is over 30 years old & ‘very interested’ in football:

Brazilian star Neymar Jr famously loves the 20-year-old first person shooter franchise, having broken the internet back in 2018 with a CS-inspired celebration against Mexico in the World Cup.

The ex-Barcelona winger met up with SK Gaming back in 2016 to play some games and ridiculously knifed ZyWoo in a showmatch in 2020 – though they settled their beef with a selfie in 2021.

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus has also shown his love for Counter-Strike, and was even slammed with a VAC ban that was later removed earlier this year.

His Ukranian teammate Oleksandr Zinchenko even played a match of professional CS for, an esports team that he owns, after one of their players had last-minute internet problems.

Plenty of footballers have stakes in their own organisations, such as David Beckham in the UK’s Guild Esports or Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero’s KRU Esports.

There are plenty of other CS pros who love the beautiful game – see dev1ce compare himself to Tottenham gaffer Ange Postecoglou in our Blast Premier interview here.

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