Zlatan Ibrahimovic invests in Swedish esports startup

One of soccer’s best players in the world eyes the esports market.

Photo via Challenger Mode

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is among a group of investors backing Challengermode, a Swedish startup that was founded in 2014 and allows gamers to compete for money in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends tournaments.

It’s the soccer star’s second investment in gaming technology. Ibrahimovic had acquired a 12.5 percent stake in game development studio Ice Cube in September 2016.

By investing in an esports-related company Ibrahimovic—who is widely regarded as one of the best soccer players of his generation—follows in the steps of his teenage idol Ronaldo, who acquired a 50 percent stake of Brazilian esports club CNB e-Sports last January.

Ibrahimovic, currently playing with Manchester United, participated in a $1.3 million round alongside the Swedish internet entrepreneurs Jonas Nordlander and Filip Engelbert, as multiple Swedish media outlets report.

“We are now seeing that the next wave of esports is going mainstream around the world.” Robel Efrem, CEO of Challengermode, told Breakit. “We’re very happy about the investors who have chose to join us in creating tools that enable players and brands thrive in this fast-growing field.”

The news of Ibrahimovic’s investment comes only one day after Gerard Piqué, centre-back for F.C. Barcelona, announced that he is involved in the creation of a big esports project that will launch soon.