UK bot-laner Matt ‘Deadly’ Smith has moved to Spain to join the League of Legends team of footballing giants Barcelona.
The 22-year-old, who previously played for Excel Esports academy team BT Excel in the UK/Ireland/Nordics NLC, will now be playing in the Spanish Superliga in 2022. This is one of the most popular European Regional Leagues (ERLs) in League of Legends esports, with the other most popular being the French LFL.
Deadly marked his move with this tweet, saying ‘have you missed me?’
It’s not the first time Deadly has played in Spain. Deadly played with Giants Gaming for two years from 2018 to the end of 2019 and built up a host of Spanish fans, before moving to Excel.
Deadly has played in an EU Masters final with Giants Gaming and also with Excel, who lost to Karmine Corp in the Spring 2021 EU Masters Final earlier this year.
ADC Deadly joins top-laner Dreedy, jungler Lebron, mid-laner twohoyrz and support player Lucky in Barca’s LoL team, with Mapache on board as head coach and Martín as performance coach.
Barcelona announced it would be playing in the Superliga last month, following rumours.
They made their reveal with a presentation and livestreaming event at the Barcelona International Gaming Center (BIGC), with caster Noa and an exhibition match against Movistar Riders.
FC Barcelona top brass were in attendance, including president Joan Laporta, marketing VP Juli Guiu, board member Àngel Riudalbas and general manager Ferran Reverter.
Juli Guiu, VP of marketing at FC Barcelona, said: “The entry into League of Legends, the game with the most fans in the industry and where audiences grow in double digits every year, represents our commitment to esports. We will show the same ambition [in esports] that FC Barcelona has on the field: to become a relevant player globally and to connect the club and its philosophy with new audiences.”
Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué has also bought into the league under his Kosmos business, with popular Spanish influencer and former host, Ibai, who is on board as co-owner. Ironically, this means the footballer’s LoL side will be playing against his club’s team in the same league.
Earlier in 2021, Spain’s Spring 2021 League of Legends Superliga achieved its highest viewer numbers in the tournament’s history, and in the summer, Panini partnered with tournament organiser LVP for a Superliga sticker album.
The Spanish Superliga gets underway on January 10th 2022. Other teams taking part include Cream Real Betis, Bisons, G2 Arctic, Mad Lions Madrid, UCAM Esports Club, Movistar Riders, Vodafone Giants, Fnatic/Queso and Ibai/Pique’s team.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.