The 23-year-old spent nearly four years with Space Soldiers, between January 2015 and October 2018, helping to put Turkish Counter-Strike on the map as he led the team to several appearances at international tournaments, including two Majors.
Before the end of the year, XANTARES decided to leave his longtime team to further his career in Germany with BIG, replacing Johannes "nex" Maget in the lineup. To shine a light on these recent events, we caught up with XANTARES to discuss why it was time to move on, the reasons he preferred BIG, and whether or not he had received other offers.
Let's start with your former team. What can you tell us about what happened after you left the Space Soldiers organization and why you decided to part ways with the squad?
The reason why I left the team stemmed from the fact that players were unmotivated. One of the main factors in my decision was my hunger for success and my competitive personality. I made this decision thinking that my former teammates weren't as ambitious as me and that they didn't put in as much work as I did.
You received offers from international organizations in the past. Why did you accept one now?
I had previously declined offers because I had thought that I would achieve things with Space Soldiers and I would reach my goals. After I realized that our goals weren't one and the same and we left the organization, I accepted the offer from BIG.
Can you talk us through that process? How did BIG reach out and how did the negotiations go?
They sent me the offer after we left the Space Soldiers organization. I already had a friendship with BIG's coach, and he personally reached out to me to say that we would always stay as friends, even if I didn't accept the offer. I went to Germany to evaluate this offer face to face and I wanted to get to know them. The fact that I already knew tabseN and gob b, and that everyone in BIG was so friendly accelerated the signing process. So I accepted their offer.
Did you get offers from other teams?
I had received offers from various teams, including FaZe and mousesports, but at that time I wasn't planning on leaving the team. When I eventually decided to join another team, the friendly environment in BIG, combined with my belief that we would be successful, made me take their offer over others.
You will live in a different country for an extended period for the first time in your life. Can you talk about this transfer on a personal level?
Leaving all your friends and family to live in a foreign country to play in a different team is a big sacrifice. I thought I would feel lonely, but from the first moment, both the players and executives of BIG welcomed me with open arms, like I was a close friend. So I have not felt lonely.
BIG already have a spot at the next Major as they finished top eight at the previous one. Was this a factor in your decision? Have you talked about your goals at the Major?
BIG is already a successful and established team that has proven itself. That was definitely a factor. Plus, with what I will bring to the table, I believe, in fact I know, that we can accomplish even more. I wouldn't have joined BIG if our visions and goals weren't the same. They completely are and we always aim for better and for more. We don't set ourselves any limit. Our goal is to reach the highest level a team can get.