The world of eSports is growing fast, with people of all ages continuing to realise that playing video games as a profession can be a lucrative way to make a living.
FIFA 18 – EA Sports' most recent release in the franchise – is amongst the most popular games played competitively, with fans of the game eager not just to play themselves, but also to watch others play – both to pick up tips and for pure entertainment.
As such, streaming sites such as Twitch are awash with top performers showing off their skills and challenging others to matches as they strive to be the best gamer they can be.
But just how do you quantify who the best is? Well, EA Sports has run their own global competition known as the FIFA Interactive World Cup (or FIWC), formerly known as the FIFA eWorld Cup, since 2004 in order to determine just that.
We'll look at previous champions a little later, but for now let's look at the current cream of the crop.
Who are the best FIFA 18 players in the world?
The 2018 FIWC is scheduled to take place in July, with the exact date still to be announced, but qualification for the tournament has already begun.
The first batch of qualifications took place in January, with 16-year-old British gamer DhTekKz claiming a shock victory out of the 128 players – including some favourites – who entered.
DhTekKz headlined a total of 16 players who qualified from FUT Champions Cup in Barcelona, the first of two such competitions, with the second scheduled for April.
A further 16 players will qualify through that second cup competition, while an additional 96 participants will be added through competitions organised via EA Sports' commercial partners ahead of the Global Series Playoffs in June.
Of the 132 players who enter the Playoffs, only two will meet in the final in July.
Current best FIFA 18 players on Xbox
Xbox natives currently qualified for the Global Series Playoffs are:
- MEGABIT (Official player of VFL Bochum)
- HASHTAG RYAN (Represents eSports collective Hashtag United)
- GORILLA UNILAD (Current FIWC champion)
Current best FIFA 18 players on PS4
PS4 natives currently qualified for the Global Series Playoffs are:
- THESTRXNGER (Official player of FC Basel)
- YIMMIEHD (Official player of Feyenoord)
- NYC_CHRIS (Official player of New York City FC)
Former FIFA Interactive World Cup Champions
|2017||Spencer Ealing||England||Kai Wollin||Germany|
|2016||Mohamad Al-Bacha||Denmark||Sean Allen||England|
|2015||Abdulaziz Alshehri||Saudi Arabia||Julien Dassonville||France|
|2014||August Alshehri||Denmark||David Bytheway||England|
|2013||Bruce Grannec||France||Andrei Torres Vivero||Mexico|
|2012||Alfonso Ramos||Spain||Bruce Grannec||France|
|2011||Francisco Cruz||Portugal||Javier Munoz||Colombia|
|2010||Nenad Stojkovic||Serbia||Ayhan Altundag||Germany|
|2009||Bruce Grannec||France||Ruben Morales Zerecero||Mexico|
|2008||Alfonso Ramos||Spain||Michael Ribeiro||USA|
|2006||Andries Smit||Netherlands||Wolfgang Meier||Austria|
|2005||Chris Bullard||England||Gabor Mokos||Hungary|
|2004||Thiago Carrico de Azevedo||Brazil||Matija Biljeskovic||Serbia|
Who's won the most money through FIFA tournaments?
As you may have noticed from above, teams from all over the world actively sponsor eSports gamers to represent their teams at big events, though it's difficult to estimate how much clubs pay their players for the privilege.
Similarly difficult to pin down is a grand total of earning for each player over the years, as unofficial tournaments are another way to earn cash.
However, by looking at the prize money awarded through official FIFA tournaments, we can get an idea of how much one can make in a year.
|Name||Country||Total Prize Money (2017)|
|Rafael Salles Leite Fortes||Brazil||$38,000|
|Aldossary Mossad||Saudi Arabia||$31,500|
|Khalid Aloufi||Saudi Arabia||$31,500|
Goal's eSports player: Graham 'GrayzaGoal' McIntyre
Earlier this year, Goal signed its first eSports player in FIFA 18 rising star, Graham "GrayzaGoal" McIntyre, to represent the world's biggest football website at global tournaments.
McIntyre, who was signed after representing Scottish Premiership side Hibernian, has been playing in his first major tournament as a Goal player in the Sportego eLeague, a FIFA 18 tournament that kicked off in January.
It has featured players from football clubs including Ajax, Manchester City and West Ham, as well as other professional eSports teams, including Epsilon, Stark eSports and AS Roma Fnatic.
The Sportego eLeague is managed by Sportego and being broadcast by Goal through our social channels, with the finals to be played at a high-profile football stadium in April.