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From Stoke to Chile via Blackburn, video games and WhatsApp

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California’s housing crisis has many people debating the possibilities of using video games as a way to generate income. A new study suggests that pro gamers could be recruited by companies like Amazon or Google, who would fund their training and salaries for them to play various activities on their behalf (e.g., completing surveys, playing games).

The “most popular game right now” is a game that has been released on the iOS App Store. It is called “Stoke to Chile via Blackburn.” This game allows users to play as a football player and travel through time. The game also includes an integrated WhatsApp chat system, which allows players to communicate with friends while playing.

BLACKBURN, England (Reuters) – From the outside, Ben Brereton Diaz’s story seems to be a football fairytale. Once upon a time, there was a young Stoke striker who was having trouble scoring goals, but then something occurred. He began to score goals, a computer program revealed his Chilean background, and he would finally make his international debut against Lionel Messi. He is now one of Chile’s most well-known figures and the face of Pepsi. He was 1000-1 to score 20 league goals for Blackburn Rovers in the Championship before the start of the season. Even though the clocks have only just gone back, he already has 13; betting firms in England are already betting on him achieving the milestone. All of this comes six years after he considered retiring from football after being informed for the second time that he would never be talented enough to play professionally.

The audience in Chile yells “Brereton.” They shout for “Diaz” at Blackburn, and it’s all a little bit…out there. But, after speaking with him, it becomes clear that his meteoric rise to popularity and prominence isn’t the result of luck or footballing wizardry. It all comes down to logic and patterns that are as ancient as the game.


By the time he sat down with ESPN, Brereton Diaz, 22, had already completed a magazine shoot and chatted with a group of Chilean media. As he adapts to the unexpected surge of interest in his narrative, he’s smiling away, trying not to fall back on clichés. But, unlike the story of Brereton Diaz, this one does not have a single epiphany moment, but rather a sequence of contributing elements that led to his three goals in eight appearances for Chile and his position as the Championship’s second best scorer behind Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.

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We’re seated in one of the Blackburn end’s box suites at Ewood Park. It’s a location haunted by the ghosts of joyful moments past: a team portrait outside the box features the visage of the 1994-95 Premier League champions. There’s also memorabilia from their 2006-07 Europa League qualifier match against Bayer Leverkusen down the hall, although they’ve attempted and failed to return to England’s top division since being relegated in 2012.

Ewood Park is also a site of endurance: Tony Mowbray is the longest-serving manager in the Championship, English soccer’s second division, and the club has had to reinvent itself every season due to larger teams chasing its finest young players. They persevere, dreaming of future achievement and believing that hard work will bring them there.

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We’re talking about a day after Blackburn were thrashed 7-0 at home by Fulham, their worst-ever home loss. Brereton Diaz comments, “It’s probably why it’s so chilly today.” They were back on track four days later, defeating Sheffield United 3-1, with Brereton Diaz scoring his 13th goal of the season.

“A couple of years ago, I was a long way from this: I wasn’t playing for the club, I wasn’t putting in the performances I knew I could,” he says ESPN. “But then… last season, I started a lot of games and scored a few goals, and then obviously, it led to the Chile thing, and then after that, I’ve gained a lot of confidence.”

“I’m in terrific shape, and things have been going well… This season, I’ve returned with a lot more confidence.”

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The announcement occurred as Blackburn was set to go to Preston North End, their local rivals, in November 2020. Brereton Diaz was aware of the intrigue and responded by scoring and assisting on a goal. Brereton Diaz had previously represented England at the youth level, but it took him four months to get a Chilean passport as Chile’s interest rose. He got called up to the national team in May 2021.

Depending on who you ask, Football Manager may or may not have had a role in his selection. Those closest to Brereton Diaz are doubtful, pointing to how brilliantly he was playing and how Chile was watching him at the same time as the social media campaign was in full swing. Brereton Diaz, on the other hand, is grateful for his supporters’ efforts.

“I don’t always check Twitter, but I’m aware of the news. I’m grateful to those who made it evident that I’m qualified to play for Chile “he declares “I was in the England youth set-up earlier in my career, so [playing for Chile] wasn’t really on my radar when I was younger. But when we received the call [from Chile], we realized it was serious: we needed to make a choice right now. What a fantastic nation, what a fantastic squad that has won two Copa America championships… it was like, “Wow, this is going to be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about football and play with some fantastic players.” It was a foregone conclusion.”

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Brereton Diaz has joined Chile’s team ahead of their two World Cup qualifying matches in June. Despite being an unused replacement, he was named to their Copa America squad. Then, in the 77th minute of their first match against Argentina, Brereton Diaz came in as a substitute for Carlos Palacios. He joined Messi, Angel Di Maria, and Sergio Aguero on the field to lead Chile to a 1-1 tie.

Despite being in the company of some of the game’s top names, he resisted the urge to switch jerseys, opting to preserve the original Chile shirt for his mother. He got his first start against Bolivia four days later. He scored his first goal for Chile in front of the empty bleachers — the Copa America having been shifted to Brazil owing to the coronavirus — and the Brereton Diaz hype train — he added the Diaz part to his name in a gesture to Chilean heritage before of his call up — gained full speed.

Brereton Diaz was picked for the Copa America roster after obtaining a Chilean passport in late 2020, and he rapidly made an impression, scoring against Bolivia and facing Messi and Argentina in the group stage.” Getty Images/Buda Mendes

He recalls seeing a young fan sporting a duct-taped shirt with “Brereton 22” on the back as he boarded the aircraft in Santiago before of their quarterfinal against Brazil. (Brereton Diaz eventually mailed the fan, called Cristobal, his genuine Bolivia game jersey.) Brereton Diaz’s Chile colleagues, such as Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, laughed hysterically as their new striker was surrounded by supporters at every training session and on his way to and from the airport.

“Going over there, without knowing any of the language — anything like that,” he adds, “I was pretty anxious the first time about how people were going to react to me.” “Everyone, though, was wonderful. The whole squad has taken me under their wings and aided me, and it’s fantastic to see the supporters rally behind me.”

Captain Claudio Bravo, Sanchez, and Mauricio Isla all kept an eye on him, but they couldn’t stop him from going through the initiation process. Brereton Diaz chose to perform a song in front of the rest of the team “”They didn’t like it,” he said of Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” which he sang with Chilean FA national director of football Francis Cagigao (who used to work at Arsenal). I don’t believe anybody was familiar with the music.” Despite the linguistic barrier, there is no difference in the locker room camaraderie.

“It means a lot: everyone is amazing, and the changing room is simply like any other. It isn’t any different. It’s simply the way things are… They all attempt to wax me since all the guys in Chile are clean shaved and I have a hairy chest!”

Brereton Diaz’s achievements at the Copa America drew the attention of companies, with #BreretonMania trending throughout the tournament, and he was named the face of Pepsi Zero’s Chile advertising campaign at the end of July.

All of this contributes to the strange character of Brereton Diaz’s newfound stardom, which has seen his Instagram account grow from 30,000 followers before to Copa America to 1.2 million in November. His favorite moments in the Chilean jersey so far have been the goals he scored against Paraguay and Venezuela in October, in front of 20 members of his family in Santiago. On Thursday, he expects to return to the starting lineup for Chile against Paraguay and Ecuador as they continue their quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.


‘I was a long way from this a couple of years ago, I wasn’t playing for the club, I wasn’t putting in the performances that I knew I could, but then last season I scored a few goals, and obviously that got me into the Chile thing… I’ve built up a lot of confidence,’ Brereton Diaz said of his progress. Getty Images/PA Images/Richard Sellers

Following his decision to change his name to Brereton Diaz ahead of that fatal Copa America, he did the same with his Blackburn jersey before of the 2021-22 season, and the goals followed. According to those close to him, this dramatic improvement in form is the result of a steady growth in confidence and game time. Danny Graham, an old teammate and coach, believes his success is due to the confidence he gained from being adopted by the Chilean national team and its fans.

In October, Graham remarked, “What Bezza has always been fantastic at is traveling with the ball, but he was just lacking that final product.” “He’s now doing both. I believe he is ready to go up now that he is playing at a high level for Chile and performing well, so he has the ability to go higher, 100 percent “”Recent.”

For the guy himself, it’s a narrative about realizing his own potential. “I think I’ve had a few of terrific seasons,” he adds, “and I want to keep training hard, playing, and scoring goals.” “At the end of the day, that’s football — you have a good game or a horrible game, and you attempt to make up for it the next weekend.”

“Every footballer begins when they are young, and then it is years of hard labor. It everything comes together at some time, and I’m thrilled with how it’s coming together right now: I’ll keep training hard, going away for Chile, being called up, scoring, and playing well for Rovers.”

After appearing with ESPN, Brereton Diaz had two more interviews to complete. Both worked for Chilean television networks. The interpreter was in his ear, assisting him, and despite the fact that he is taking two Spanish classes per week and comprehending the essentials, he finds no linguistic problems on the field. He’s a genuine Chilean celebrity, but this isn’t a fairy tale: “Brereton-mania” is the result of hard work and determination.

“At the end of the day, it’s football, so my father always kept me grounded. You have ups and downs, consistent performances, objectives, it seems that I like myself, and I continue to do well. I want for more and more objectives, as well as the continuation of the current trend.”

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