Air force cadet flying high in competitive FIFA

  • 'Tuga810' is in the Portuguese air force academy

  • Portugal international balances competitive FIFA with his service

  • Has risen to prominence in the scene this year

Disciplined, adaptable, fearless – they are the kind of traits that have enabled Diogo 'Tuga810' Pombo to rise into the world’s top eight competitive FIFA players on PlayStation.

But it is not just EA SPORTS FIFA that has shaped the Portuguese as a person and player. Away from competing at events all around the world, ‘Tuga810’ serves in his country’s military where he has transferred skills learned from his service to playing FIFA.

“I’m in the Portuguese air force academy and in my second year now,” said the Castelo Branco native. “I think that effort and that desire to be the best helps my FIFA.”

Though he had a modest reputation on the scene in FIFA 18, ‘Tuga810’ has enjoyed a meteoric rise during the 2019 campaign. After reaching the semi-finals of January’s FUT Champions Cup in Bucharest, ‘Tuga810’ overcame daunting opponents in the February edition – including ‘TheStrxngeR’, ‘Yago’, ‘pauloneto999’ – before recording an emphatic victory over PlayStation No1 ‘Nicolas99fc’ in the console final, securing a USD 20,000 prize.

‘Tuga810’ may have lost to ‘Tekkz’, who was in formidable shape at the time, but the 20-year-old had announced his arrival amongst the world’s elite.

“Last year, I was just a normal player, nobody knew me,” he said. “But this year, I won a small tournament in my city. I think it was the biggest opportunity to compete with other good players and it helped me to think about new tactics to use against the top players.”

‘Tuga810’ carried the momentum from those FUT Champions Cups into April’s inaugural FIFA eNations Cup™ where he reached the semi-finals with Portugal alongside national team-mate ‘RastaArtur’.

The eNations Cup marked a significant milestone in competitive FIFA, seeing players represent their country in an official capacity for the first time.

With such high stakes, the tournament produced many emotional scenes – as demonstrated by the Portugal pair who bagged a late winner in their final group stage game to secure a place in the knockouts.

“It was great to be one of the two members of Portugal’s eNations Cup team,” said 'Tuga810'. “For me, it was an honour to represent my country in one of the biggest tournaments. We had a lot of support from fans and Portuguese people. It was unbelievable.”

With the curtain closed on FIFA 19, ‘Tuga810’ can look back on a memorable year which saw him make waves in the FUT Champions Cup, become a Portugal international, reach the final four of the PlayStation Global Series and compete at the FIFA eWorld Cup™.

After earning his wings this competitive FIFA season, will the air force academy cadet be flying high on FIFA 20?