The 2021 end-of-year offseason has been particularly brutal for many top League of Legends talents across the western professional leagues. Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro appears to be the latest casualty of an offseason that many are calling a response to inflating salaries and buyouts.
Jiizuke announced he would not be playing professionally in the coming spring split, joining a growing list of promising veteran talent that hasn’t found a home for 2022.
Jiizuke is a European import in North America who made his name at Vitality, most famously playing a lead role in an underdog performance at the World Championship. Jiizuke is an aggressive, self-reliant mid laner known for his assassin play on picks like Ekko, and had received much praise for his most recent split of play with Evil Geniuses.
Jiizuke’s debut in the LCS wasn’t the easiest or best, but his 2021 rally back saw him receive first All-Pro honors in the LCS. Despite a promising performance and a high reputation amongst fellow pros, Jiizuke is the latest to find himself without an organization at the start of 2022.
This offseason has had many fans wondering if the constantly ballooning price of pro players’ contracts and buyouts have finally come around to bite LoL esports. With top players ending up without a team, it seems like teams are having to make budget-conscious decisions, and buying ongoing contracts can mean a serious jump in price. Jiizuke seems set on returning to professional play one way or another, declaring his intent to boot camp in Europe and Korea to keep his skills fresh.
Fans hoping to see Jiizuke in professional play will almost certainly have to wait until at least the summer split of 2022, unless there’s an unexpected roster shuffle that opens a spot prior to then, likely in the LEC. He’ll be too far away to be a quick fix for any North American rosters, so it seems likely that his next shot at the big stage will be after the spring split has concluded.