Throughout Planet Football, there is no doubt that certain matches are considered more important than others – games during which, as well as points, there are pride, status and perhaps bragging rights at stake. Such feelings are also easily translatable to the world of virtual football, particularly when FIFA Interactive World Cup icons Alfonso Ramos and Bruce Grannec go head to head.
To date the only two players to have lifted the coveted FIWC crown on two occasions, Spaniard Ramos and Frenchman Grannec have met countless times in key encounters or title deciders. Such is their standing that Ramos did not hesitate to label the clash “a true clásico!”
“We’re just like Real Madrid and Barcelona,” added a smiling Ramos, shortly after sinking his rival 3-1 in the final of the FIWC Champions Trophy, the first official tournament to be held using the brand-new EA SPORTS™ FIFA 14. The long-established annual videogame exhibition Gamescom, held in Germany, provided the perfect backdrop to the latest tussle between Ramos and Grannec, who had previously shared a thrilling 3-3 draw in the competition’s qualifying round.
“For me, this was about proving a point,” said the former, still clutching the trophy (a golden PlayStation® controller), who suffered a shock first-round elimination at the last FIWC in Madrid. “It’s not just about that though.
"Last year Bruce beat me in the final of the Champions Trophy in Canada. We’ve played each other so many times now! He won that one, I came out on top here. He went on to take the FIFA Interactive World Cup after winning the Champions Trophy, so let’s hope the same happens to me.”
A clásico in every way
With the virtual footballing community eagerly anticipating this clash between two of the globe’s finest performers, Grannec and Ramos’ decisive tussle on the new FIFA 14 certainly did not disappoint. “These matches are always tough,” said Ramos.
“We know each other so well and we’ve got a similar playing style: we both like to keep the ball and wait for our opponents to make a mistake,” he went on. “For that reason the first goal is key and this time it went to me: Grannec allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to slip his marker and that's how I scored.”
However, the champion – whose only defeat during the day’s play came against Kai Wollin – admitted that Grannec held sway in the first period, having “had 60 per cent of possession, but without being able to put the ball away."
Ramos was also happy to give his verdict on FIFA 14, which should shortly be on the market: “It’s really finely honed and gets more realistic every year. The more you start getting the hang of it, the better you can move your players around. They’ve done a great job with it!”
Finally, before taking his leave, the 2008 and 2012 FIWC champion insisted he will not be resting on his laurels after this latest addition to his trophy cabinet: “This is only the beginning and my main objective is still getting back to the [FIWC] Grand Final again.
"It won’t be easy because I’ll have to qualify this time, but I’m prepared for that. Do I think I’ll come up against Bruce again? We’ll have to wait and see, let’s hope so. The same result would be nice too!”