x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Iranian feels like a million dirhams after winning Million Player

Moeen Amozadeh from Iran became the first winner of the Million Player tournament.

MOEEN AMOZADEH of Iran, who won the Million Player tournament on Sunday. (Al Ittihad)
 *** Local Caption *** DSC_8315 copy.jpg
MOEEN AMOZADEH of Iran, who won the Million Player tournament on Sunday. (Al Ittihad) *** Local Caption *** DSC_8315 copy.jpg

For one football fan, this year's Eid celebrations started several days earlier than for anyone else in the country.

And who can blame him?

On Sunday night, Moeen Amozadeh from Iran became the first winner of the Million Player tournament, a competition that ran during Ramadan and pitted the 2013 Pro Evolution Soccer skills of the country's PlayStation 3 gamers against each other.

The competition, under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, is the richest of its kind in the world.

The early rounds of the tournament, which had seen the golden boy of UAE football, Omar Abdulrahman, take part, were staged across all seven emirates, organisers said, and after last week's final qualifying round at Abu Dhabi's Emirates Park Zoo, the grand finale moved to Ferrari World on Yas Island.

In the presence of Sheikh Zayed bin Mansour, the final was contested between Amozadeh and the Emirati Abdullah Saleh Mubarak in the late hours of Sunday night.

The Iranian won 8-6 after extra time.

Playing with his favoured side, Real Madrid, overwhelmingly the most popular team for the most contestants, Amozadeh's skills were matched step for step by those of Mubarak, who had chosen to play with Madrid's rivals Barcelona.

The digital clasico looked to be heading to a close 6-5 win in favour of Cristiano Ronaldo and co, when Mubarak, via the dependable Andres Iniesta, scored a dramatic late equaliser to force the extra period.

Adding spice to the duel was background commentary mimicking some of the Arab world's most famous voices, including the UAE's own Faris Awad.

The extra period was a nervous affair, Amozadeh finally coming on top thanks to the deft movements, and goals, of the accurately pixelated figures of Karim Benzema and Ronaldo, whose capabilities, it became clear throughout the competition, are peerless on Pro Evolution Soccer.

At the end of the final, an ecstatic Amozadeh was presented with a giant cheque for Dh1 million, while a disappointed Mubarak still received Dh300,000.

Another Emirati, Hassan Abdullah Wahlan, walked away with Dh100,000 for finishing in third.

akhaled@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE