FIFA tournament with La Liga players raises money to combat coronavirus

Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

It all started with a tweet from Ibai Llanos.

The popular esports personality -- who was previously a League of Legends shoutcaster for Liga de Videojuegos and is currently a content creator for G2 Esports -- wrote a fairly innocuous tweet on Monday.

Loosely translated, it asked fans if they'd like to see a FIFA tournament among the top 20 teams in La Liga and asked for a footballer from each club to participate, with all proceeds to be donated to charity.

Players from around the league replied to sign up.

The tweet ballooned to 23,000 retweets and more than 100,000 likes.

Suddenly, a tournament was being organized.

Five days later, with full representation across the league, the tournament unfolded.

It only took two days for all of the spots to fill, including Marco Asensio for Real Madrid. Sergi Roberto initially publicly signed up for Barcelona but did not play in the tournament, along with Mallorca's Alejandro Pozo, due to the respective teams' exclusive relationship with Konami's competitive soccer title, Pro Evolution Soccer.

Quickly, a draw was organized and the tournament spanned over three days, from Friday to Sunday, involving 18 of the 20 teams.

Ultimately, it would be Real Madrid taking home the title. Asensio has been sidelined due to a knee injury for the entire season, but he ended up a champion in the charity tournament, defeating Leganes' Aitor Ruibal 4-1 in the final.

Carlos "Ocelote" Rodriguez Santiago, founding CEO of G2, told ESPN via direct message that G2 was able to leverage many player relationships in the league to make it happen as quickly as possible. G2 was also able to work with La Liga directly. Many players in the league are gamers, including Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who recently played League of Legends with Llanos and other players.

Santiago noted that the tournament, which was broadcast on Llanos' Twitch channel, reached 180,000 viewers on Sunday, and it was televised in Spain as well as China and raised 140,000 Euros (almost $150,000) for COVID-19 relief efforts. The donations will go to UNICEF, said Santiago.