Alfonso Ramos Wins Grand Final In Berlin
Alfonso Ramos became the fourth interactive FiFA World Player in history following a thrilling finale to the virtual football season on 24 May 2008. The Spanish student’s Barcelona team recorded a 3-1 victory over American Michael Ribeiro, who was also represented by Barcelona – the most popular team among gamers. The action-packed competition, featuring the world’s elite 32 players on the virtual football pitch of EA SPORTS™ FIFA08 on PLAYSTATION®3, took place in the Sony Center in Berlin.
The final was an exhilarating affair right from the off. Ramos took an early lead through a fantastic header and moved further ahead with a goal from Eto’o at the start of the second half. Ribeiro responded with an excellent finish to make it 2-1, but Ramos was in no mood to let his lead slip and soon restored his two-goal margin. “This is the best day of my life,” he said. “I’m delighted to be the first Spaniard to win the FIFA Interactive World Player title and I’m already looking forward to defending the title next year.”
FIFA Marketing Director Thierry Weil and the former Ghanaian international Anthony Baffoe, the first African to play in the German Bundesliga, joined cabin staff from Emirates airline to present the winner with the brand new trophy as well as USD 20,000 in prize money. Ramos was also invited to attend the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich on 12 January 2009 when the best men and women footballers of the year will be honoured.
Austrian Dominik Posch secured third place with a 2-1 victory over Andrea Casagrande Buffo in front of a high-spirited and vociferous crowd of fans in Berlin.
Virtual and real
More than 28,000 players locked horns both in live tournaments and dramatic online qualifiers in 20 countries around the world over eight months in an attempt to qualify for this unique competition. Gamers from all four corners of the globe – from Australia to South Africa, Brazil to Korea and the USA to Italy – battled their way to Berlin with mazy runs, fancy tricks and goals. “The FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final was a fantastic event. It had everything you associate with a FIFA tournament – fair play, excitement, fun and new friends – and, of course, football of the highest order. The players who took part in Berlin have lots in common with those who parade their skills at other FIFA tournaments. The players trained rigorously for this competition, showed great focus and determination, and their special skills rank them among the world’s best,” said Weil.
Some 20,500 spectators followed the action on the giant screen, many of them trying their hand at the game or using the opportunity to showcase their own “real” footballing skills. The event was a perfect fusion of the real and virtual football worlds as the tackles and shots on the virtual football pitches inspired a genuine passion for the game of football. The finalists used the virtual likenesses of Barcelona’s stars, particularly Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o, to produce as impressive an array of tricks and moves as their real counterparts. It took the finalists weeks of preparation to progress so far in the tournament, and their magnificent dexterity impressed the “real” footballers present, including German ex-international Fredi Bobic and Kevin-Prince Boateng from English club Tottenham Hotspur, who displayed his own virtual footballing skills in a match against Baffoe. For detailed match reports, interviews and a wealth of statistics on the tournament, go to http://vwvw.FIFA. com/fiwc.