Adri Contreras (Kings League): “I have experienced things that I had not even had time to dream of”

Five days ago, Adrián Contreras (Ibiza, 26 years old) scored a goal in front of 92,522 people at the Spotify Camp Nou. An hour later, and with two million viewers connected, El Barrio became the first team to win the Kings League by defeating Mexican streamer Juan Guarnizo’s Annihiladores by a clear 3-0. In the final of this competition, which brought together two million viewers live, the presidents of the clubs have the opportunity to take a penalty at the request of their coach: “I told Juan [Arroita] that I wanted to take it as soon as possible”, recalls Contreras in an interview with EL PAÍS, held today in Madrid. Said and done: minute 1 of the final and this young content creator looks up at the sky and, in a nervous gesture, bites his lower lip. Moments like the one in which his mother told him that he could not study Journalism because they did not have enough money to pay for a room in Madrid may pass through his mind. He may remember the two years working at El Chiringuito (La Sexta, MEGA), going to bed “at 4 or 5 in the morning with only one day off a week”. Perhaps Adri’s mind, as millions of his followers know him on networks, returned him to the cold of Butarque, the first of the stadiums where he spent seasons accredited by digital media where, usually, he did not charge for his chronicles. “He had missed the three previous penalties and, I don’t know why, he was convinced that he was going to score.” The ball went to the right corner, unstoppable by placement. “I felt a rush of adrenaline, something that filled my stomach and I stayed still with my eyes closed; I didn’t even know what I was doing. When I opened them I saw all the players coming towards me with a happy face… and I thought, it was worth it. We are going to win the Kings League ”, now tells Contreras, who accumulates 4.4 million followers between TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. After hugging his team, Contreras went to the band looking for the next hug. His mother was waiting for him, with whom he commented live and on Twitch the final four of the tournament. “These days I have wondered if she was the reason why I had such a positive vision of the matches. By nature I am pessimistic when my team plays, but with her there I was happy, ”he says. In the midst of adolescence, they went to Granada together after the separation of their parents and an equally happy childhood in Ibiza. “These days together we have remembered when I went to show him the Selectividad note that allowed me to go to the Complutense, but we didn’t even have the money to pay for a room in Madrid,” he explains. Quickly, the solution came with a move to his grandparents’ house in Toledo and a bus service where he spent the first year of Journalism making a two-hour trip one way and another two back. “I was clear about what I wanted to dedicate myself to. If someone asks me what I am, I continue to answer automatically that I am a journalist, although it is evident that I have been dedicating myself mainly to the creation of content for a long time”, he says.Adri Contreras, during the interview.Jaime VillanuevaDespite the physical and mental effort, Contreras managed to a scholarship and, not without family effort, he was able to go and share a flat “in a cheap room in Madrid. But he was already where he wanted, in the city where the media were, he could interview…”, he explains. Countless unpaid collaborations began and combining the Degree with any accreditation: “Bernabéu, Calderón, the Basketball Final Four in Madrid… everything suited me.” And all of this ended in a “three-page” curriculum that caught the attention of the journalist Josep Pedrerol. “There [in the El Chiringuito program] they interview dozens of students a month, but I had put photos of me in stadiums, clippings from interviews with journalists who work with him, articles, everything. They signed me right away and I spent two very intense years where I learned a lot from him and his self-demand”. However, in the story of the Kings League winner there is a sign of his time and different from that of previous generations. Contreras explains it like this: “I sent a WhatsApp to Josep [Pedrerol]. I told him that I was giving them a while, but that I was leaving. YouTube had started to attract my attention and, in fact, I went to a channel, Football Talks. He understood it, although you always think if you are not screwing up ”. Charging less than on television, managing networks and editing, taking advantage of the fact that he could then live at his father’s house and control his expenses, he opted for content creation. The definitive turn in the script of which he was a young sports journalist happened in March 2020: “The confinement arrived and I downloaded TikTok. I literally remember thinking that no one was making football content.I knew how important it was going to be to become first, I learned that you had to publish a lot of content, and suddenly, in April, a video with the best players in history exceeded 100,000 views. I set myself the goal of publishing 20 videos a day, and the rest is history”.More informationThe Kings League triumphs because it is football made of TikTokAt the end of 2021, TikTok celebrated its awards for the first time in Spain You don’t know everything about TikTok and Adri Contreras rose with the award for best creator on this network in the sports category. The snowball was launched, but the following obsession would end up internationalizing him: “2022 was, yes or yes, going to Qatar. Six months before the World Cup I was already deploying all possible contacts and I got it. Other creators who put in a lot of effort didn’t make it and that made me aware that this was going to be a turning point”. In the creation of content and especially in TikTok, the milestones can be quantified: in the month of the competition, the most followed sports journalist on the network added 800 million views. It is a stratospheric figure and, he explains, not related to the signing of him as one of the presidents of the El Barrio club by Gerard Piqué. “I owe him all this,” he says, about the former Barcelona player. “I still remember the impression that following him on Twitter and his first message from him caused me.” On September 7 of last year they met for the first time and Contreras couldn’t believe that from Kosmos they were thinking of a sports competition “that had all the ingredients to succeed. It was a dream, something made to measure for me, ”he says. However, the credit for having won the tournament belongs to a much larger technical and sports staff. “Winning the championship begins by signing Juan Arroita, whom he had precisely met in Soccer Talks. He didn’t want to, he couldn’t see it, but I told him that I didn’t know anyone who knew more about football. Technically and sportingly, he had to be there. And the other key piece was Joan Compte, the assistant coach and the one who knew all the players around Barcelona who could join the league. We started watching hours and hours of videos, crossing Excel sheets and marking a top 10 players we wanted to sign in the draft. When I saw that we had achieved the first six, I knew that, perfectly, we could win the Kings League”.

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