Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye has announced that he is taking a step back and retiring from Counter-Strike at an elite level, leaving behind the HYENAS project he was competing with while on FaZe’s bench.
The Danish rifler is stepping away from the game at the age of 23, but despite his youth, he leaves some impressive accolades to his name, which include becoming the youngest Major MVP at ELEAGUE Major 2017, which he won at the age of 18 with Astralis, and making the top 20 players of the year list twice, ranking 16th and 15th in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Kjaerbye shockingly left Astralis in early 2018 to join the other Danish squad vying to become a powerhouse with the backing of F.C. Copenhagen, North, but the team never fulfilled its potential and only won one big LAN event, DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018, before Kjaerbye decided to try his luck outside of Denmark. He joined FaZe in August of 2020, but the international combine struggled to get results at a time in which one of the team’s stalwarts, Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, departed to G2, not long after which Kjaerbye himself was moved to the bench as he was unable to find his best form.
Following his removal from FaZe’s starting five, Kjaerbye joined up with two former North teammates, Philip “aizy” Aistrup and Nicklas “gade” Gade, in a new Danish team known as HYENAS, although the new squad failed to make an immediate splash and a lack of hunger to strive to be the best has made the former Astralis, North and FaZe player decide to step down from competition.
The 23-year-old has not discarded remaining close to Counter-Strike in the future, although he could just as well pursue other opportunities unlinked to CS, the game he has dedicated a large part of his life to over the past decade, and has made the following statement regarding his decision to retire:
“The time has come for me to say goodbye to gaming as a professional Counter-Strike player. It is with a heavy heart I am writing this, but as of right now, I have no longer the hunger and determination it requires to compete on top level. This game has been a huge part of my life for the past 10 years, and I feel this is the time for me to look for new horizons and opportunities. Future work can be both inside and outside the game. Time will tell.
“It has been a fantastic rollercoaster ride, which has given me way more than I have ever imagined when I started playing video games. To this day a big part of this adventure still feels surreal. As every other career it has brought many ups and downs – they have all made me stronger, and ultimately in many ways also shaped me into the person I am today.
“I want to thank the organisations that picked me up and believed in me. Thanks to every colleague and teammate, with whom I have travelled all over the world – it has been a blast! And a big hug goes out to all my fans, family and friends, who followed me in good as well as bad times.
“Thanks for everything guys!”