Who is ‘Enigma 69’, the masked player in Gerard Piqué’s seven-a-side Kings League?
Sides in the Kings League are allowed to call up a guest player each week - and mystery surrounded the identity of Sunday’s masked addition to XBuyer Team.
Viewers of the Kings League, a seven-a-side football tournament launched by Barcelona and Spain legend Gerard Piqué this month, were presented with a mystery in Sunday’s matches: who was the masked player identified only as ‘Enigma 69’?
The unnamed individual turned out for the Kings League club XBuyer Team, under a rule that allows every side in the competition to call up a guest player for each week’s round of matches. Known as the ‘player 12’ rule, it has led familiar faces such as former Spain international Joan Capdevila and current MLS star Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández to be added to squads that are chiefly populated by less well-known names.
‘Enigma 69’ sports mask and covers up tattoos
Ahead of this weekend’s second round of Kings League matches, Piqué announced that XBuyer Team would be inviting a player who “doesn’t want to reveal his identity”. The retired defender, who created the indoor tournament together with popular Spanish streamer Ibai Llanos, added: “He’s a first-division player and he’s going to wear a [Mexican] wrestling mask and cover his body so his tattoos won’t be recognised.”
‘Enigma 69’ fails to impress
Be it because his mask inhibited his vision, or because he was clearly not in peak physical condition, ‘Enigma 69’ endured a game to forget. Unable to get on the scoresheet, he could not prevent his team from losing 1-0 to Kunisports, a club whose president is former Argentina striker Sergio Agüero.
“‘Enigma 69’ was a major attraction going into the game […], but his performance on the pitch was more of a fiasco than anything else,” AS’ Víctor Ayora wrote. “He looked out of shape and was wearing the wrong footwear. He slipped over three times in the opening minutes and only had one opportunity to score a goal.”
Ibai Llanos appears to accidentally reveal player’s identity
There were rumours on social media that the mystery player was former Real Madrid midfielder Isco, who is currently a free agent after parting company with Sevilla. Other names suggested were ex-Barça player Denis Suárez and current Osasuna footballer Rubén García.
However, it looks like ‘Enigma 69’ was in fact former Cádiz forward Nano Mesa. At least, that’s what Ibai Llanos appears to have revealed on a live video on the streaming platform Twitch. Speaking after Sunday’s Kings League matches, Llanos seemed to accidentally give away the player’s identity when he said: “A lot of people thought it was Isco, because his physique is similar to Nano Mesa’s.”
Agüero has also said that XBuyer Team’s ‘player 12′ was “someone who used to play for Cádiz.”
Who is Nano Mesa?
A forward who has spent his entire career in his native Spain, Nano Mesa has made a total of 215 first-team appearances for clubs in the first, second and third tiers of the Spanish league pyramid. The 27-year-old is presently unattached after leaving LaLiga club Cádiz in the summer, having been loaned out to Real Zaragoza in Segunda División for the 2021/22 season.
A product of the Tenerife youth set-up, he played for the Canary Islanders for three years before joining Eibar in 2016. However, he only featured 11 times for the Basques, who sent him on loan to Levante, Sporting Gijón, Tenerife and Cádiz, before selling him to the Andalusians in 2020. He made 30 appearances as Cádiz won promotion to Primera División that year, but only featured once in the top flight for the Submarino Amarillo. He was subsequently loaned first to Logroñés, then to Zaragoza.
In total, Nano Mesa has a mere 16 career appearances in Primera to his name, 15 of which came five years ago or more - so, if he is indeed ‘Enigma 69’, Piqué’s “first-division player” description looks slightly generous.
Kings League: watch on Twitch
Contested indoors, the Kings League involves 12 teams that will play weekly matchdays until the end of March, before moving on to a playoff phase. Each round of six games is held on a single day, with every clash broadcast worldwide and free of charge on Twitch.
In addition to Agüero, the presidents at the helm of the Kings League teams include Spain’s World Cup-winning captain, Iker Casillas.