Players rank among the most ardent devotees of all three. Andrea Pirlo has proclaimed that “after the wheel, the PlayStation is the best invention of all time.” Zlatan Ibrahimovic wrote in his autobiography that he “could go 10 hours at a stretch” playing soccer video games early in his career. John Terry used to host Pro Evolution Soccer get-togethers for his Chelsea teammates on the eve of each season.
Victor Vázquez, a former teammate of Lionel Messi’s in Barcelona’s youth sides, remembered Messi “playing for three hours without a break” during marathon tournaments. Messi’s Barcelona teammate Gerard Piqué, another graduate of the city’s famed academy, La Masia, said he still played FIFA “while traveling, in the hotel, with the team.”
And two years before Manchester United made him the world’s most expensive player, the French midfielder Paul Pogba was seen playing Football Manager during the 2014 World Cup. He was managing Chelsea, and had signed himself.
Like most of his generation, Arsenal’s Iwobi, 20, grew up with video games. He played soccer, too, of course, both as part of his formal sporting…