Liam Payne loses to Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold in charity esports series
Gamers Without Borders saw the former One Direction star and Champions League winning England defender raise $100,000 for UNICEF's Covid-19 relief efforts.
Singer Liam Payne admitted that not being able to see his son has been the hardest part of lockdown as he competed in the $10million Covid-19 esports series Gamers Without Borders' celebrity-packed closing weekend, going up against Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Reflecting on life in lockdown, Liam said: "It's been hard. Working out and different things like that have been quite difficult - maintaining fitness and all sorts of stuff like we have to do for our jobs. And just not being able to see your friends and family too - not being able to see my son has obviously been the hardest part. I think we've learned a lot about ourselves. We all know what not to take for granted now at this stage and are just hoping it gets better."
The 26-year-old explained that he is a big gaming fan and has used his time in lockdown to up his esports abilities - but did concede that may have come at the cost of his own personal grooming and fitness regime!
He said: "I play a bit of Call of Duty. I'm getting right into that, that's a lot of fun at the moment. I was playing Fortnite for a while as well but Call of Duty - the bigger game where you get dropped in out of the aeroplane, Warzone - is just so hard. I've not won at that yet."
He continued: "The beard's really coming on, the hair's coming on - I'm worried at the moment I'm going to leave lockdown with a best friend called Wilson, like Tom Hanks in Castaway."
The former One Direction star also conceded that going-up against a rival who could actually play as himself in the game made his battle all the greater, as he lost 4-1 and then 5-2 in front of a streaming audience of thousands. Liam admitted there was nothing he could do to stop Arnold's goal-bound "magnet" strikes after losing two FIFA20 matches in a row to the Champions League winning right-back.
The pair battled it out for the lion's share of the US$100,000 up for grabs from Gamers Without Borders' charity prize fund - the winner bagging US$75,000 for his chosen coronavirus charity, while the loser would earn theirs US$25,000.
In the end, UNICEF proved to be the big winners, with both players donating their prize money to the charity, which is seeking to protect health workers on the front line fighting Covid-19 across the globe.
Speaking afterwards, Liam said: "It's such a great cause and we all love playing games - it's one of the best things. So to be able to do that and make money for unfortunate people at the same time, what an absolute winner - it's just absolutely amazing to be a part of it. Sorry I lost the game but that's the least of it isn't it!
"It was all about those shots - there was just nothing I could do about them! My story the whole game was whether I go all-out attack or park the bus in the goal and just go ultra-defensive. I tried to go ultra-attacking to see if I could get a couple of goals back but there was just nothing I could do against his shots. It was like a magnet!
He continued: "And did you see how fast he was on FIFA as himself? I could see why he was sat there so chilled. If I was that fast I'd be chilling out most of the time as well! If we're going off how fast I am, then we're probably going a like speed four! My agility during lockdown too has been minimal - it's not very far from the fridge to the sofa for me!"
The unprecedented esports initiative, organized by the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), has already seen US$8.5 million donated to global charities tackling Covid-19. These have included GAVI, UNICEF, Direct Relief, International Full broadcast information is available at watch.gamerswithoutborders.com/.