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Thursday February 22, 2024

Are fans in for a Babar Azam stint in GTA VI?

Peshawar Zalmi shares GTA VI-themed image after Rockstar Games release trailer for sixth edition of game slated for 2025

By Web Desk
December 06, 2023
An illustrative image of Babar Azam depicting him as a character of GTA VI. — Instagram/peshawarzalmipk
An illustrative image of Babar Azam depicting him as a character of GTA VI. — Instagram/peshawarzalmipk

Cricket fans are excited after former Pakistan skipper Babar Azam's Pakistan Super League (PSL) side Peshawar Zalmi shared the top batter's animated Grand Theft Auto (GTA) VI-themed picture hinting at his possible stint in the popular video game series.

The right-hand batter, known for his exquisite drives and cricketing prowess on the pitch, ranks among the world's top batsmen and at present secures the second spot in the ICC one-day international (ODI) rankings.

The 29-year-old is one of the most sought-after players in the country's flagship 20-over tournament and his illustrative picture depicting him as a possible character in the famous video-game series has led to fans' anticipation to see their favourite batter in GTA VI.

"Jumping on the trend with #GTAVI themed," the caption of the post read, referring to Tuesday's release of the trailer of the highly-anticipated video game scheduled for release in 2025.

"Jumping on the trend with #GTAVI themed," the caption of the post read, referring to Tuesday's release of the trailer of the highly-anticipated video game scheduled for release in 2025.

However, Babar is not the first sports celebrity who has been subjected to such "transformation" as the excitement for the sixth installment of the GTA series reached new heights with the release of the latest trailer, prompting a fan, Don Shelby, to create GTA-inspired characters of prominent football legends like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Salah and others.

Messi, coincidentally residing in the game's setting, Miami, is portrayed as a brooding loner navigating the Magic City in a bomber jacket.

On the other hand, Al-Nassr superstar Cristiano Ronaldo transforms into a stylish, medallion-wearing crook sporting retro aviators.

Images like Golden Boy Jude Bellingham appearing as relaxed in the Miami crime scene as he is on the field for Real Madrid showcase the blend of football and gaming cultures.

Noteworthy football figures, including Vinicius Junior, Neymar, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have also transformed into GTA characters. Across its 26-year history, the GTA series has become the most profitable entertainment product, with the 2013 edition generating over $7.7 billion (£6.3bn) in sales.

GTA VI craze: Football fans create Vinicius, Jude Bellingham and other football stars GTA characters
GTA VI craze: Football fans create Vinicius, Jude Bellingham and other football stars' GTA characters

GTA has consistently captivated audiences since its debut in 1997, with each new edition eagerly anticipated by fans. Despite struggles to contain leaks of upcoming releases, the fan community has demonstrated remarkable creativity.

GTA VI craze: Football fans create Salah, Neymar Jr and other football stars GTA characters
GTA VI craze: Football fans create Salah, Neymar Jr and other football stars' GTA characters

Looking ahead, while the brilliantly re-imagined football icons won't feature in the 2025 release, GTA will make history by introducing a female lead character. Whether players will have the option to follow MLS' newest star, Messi, at Inter Miami in the game remains an intriguing aspect to be unveiled.