2019 was the pinnacle for Chinese League of Legends, when the region reaffirmed its place as king of competitive by winning the World Championship for the second consecutive time, with FunPlus Phoenix struck down G2 to claim ultimate victory.
Among all its members, the one who stood out the most was Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang, main jungler of the Phoenix squad and who thanks to his great performance, was named MVP in the Worlds 2019 finals, in addition to appearing in the video of the official song for Worlds 2020, "Take Over".
(Picture: Riot Games)
However, and despite his young age, it seems that Tian has been suffering from certain health problems, which has forced the player to announce a temporary retirement from the competitive scene.
Tian cited fatigue and stress that he has experienced in recent years as the reason for stepping back. With the jungler claiming a loss in motivation has caused his performances to suffer.
Tian posted on weibo that due to health reasons he decides to take a break from competitive scene for a while. pic.twitter.com/quStRV7GWE— Ran (@ran_lpl) January 20, 2021
In his statement, Tian mentioned: “Yesterday's 2-0 against Rogue Warriors was one of the few games after 2019 that I actually enjoyed playing. In our last game against EDG, due to pressure, I would suddenly feel unwell. I'm afraid this will happen again in the future.”
“After having discussed it with the team, I have decided to take a break in my career and put myself in the hands of a professional. Thanks for worrying”, concluded Tian.
This sudden decision is not surprising, given the rigorous training sessions and the new LPL format that has teams playing near enough every day.
With his unexpected departure, FunPlus Phoenix will have to seek their synergy again with a new jungler, after a 2020 where they failed to live up the expectations, and a 2021 where their comeback was just getting started.