Bruce Grannec is a familiar face to the FIWC community and is held in very high regard amongst the top players. The Frenchman won the FIFA Interactive World Cup in 2009, was a semi-finalist at FIWC10 and runner-up at FIWC12. Most recently, Grannec became the first ever winner of the FIWC Tournament of Champions, which took place at the home of EA SPORTS in Vancouver.

Grannec’s skill and technique, along with his ability to remain calm from the beginning of a game to the final minute, has earned him the nickname la machine (the Machine) in his native land. We caught up with the Machine to get his thoughts on the newest edition of the FIFA Interactive World Cup. Bruce, how do you prepare yourself mentally for a tournament?
Grannec: Unlike other players, I simply can’t do anything else during a live tournament. I mainly stay in my room or in a quiet place, chilling with my coach and waiting for my next match. This is what I have done for the last 7 years and it has worked fine for me so far.

How many hours do you spend practicing, before a live tournament?
I usually play 3 or 4 games a day, but no more. When a live tournament is approaching then I play a little more. I always play with my sparring partner, Brak. I think we have played more than 1000 games together, so he knows me perfectly and I always have to find new ways to score a goal against him.

One of the qualities players often mention when discussing your style of play is your ability to always remain so calm during the tournament. How do you manage to keep so cool when the pressure is on?
I don’t know really. I have never worked on this. I have always been somebody who is very calm. It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the pressure of a game. Obviously when you are playing a final, you know what is at stake. But in that moment, I just focus on my game and try to keep playing true to my style, no matter if I score or concede a goal.

What did it feel like to become the FIWC champion in 2009?
Becoming FIWC champion was one of my proudest moments. To bring the title to France and to receive the opportunity to go to the FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony, where I got to meet players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi... It was such a unique experience. When you have the opportunity to experience something as amazing as this, the only thing you want to do is to train hard and win so that you can do it again.

How was your FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala experience?
As I said before, it is something that you will only really experience once in your lifetime. It’s a child’s dream turned into reality. It’s all very well organised by FIFA who take care of the whole arrangement.

Which players did you enjoy meeting the most at the Gala?
First of all I enjoyed meeting Kaká because he is one of my favorite players. I’ll always remember his world-class goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2007. Secondly, Messi, as he is probably the best football player of all time. We are pretty lucky to be living in his generation. Other players I enjoyed meeting were Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi and Iniesta who are also amazing football players.

Any players to watch out for in FIWC13?
Obviously Alfonso will be the man to beat. He’ll play in his country, in front of an audience that will be 100 per cent supporting him, with a unique opportunity to win a third world title. It’s always really difficult for a defending champion to keep his title, as we have already seen before. If I had to put my bets on an outsider, I would choose Ovvy [Ovidiu Patrascu]. He was not far from making it into the top 8 this year and he beat me recently at a tournament. For a while now he has been one of the most regular players of the FIFA scene. So I’m pretty sure he will be a FIWC champion in the upcoming years.

Thanks a lot for the interview. Our final question is one that is often asked by FIWC players: who is your favourite team to play with?
For FIFA 13 it’s Brazil. It has been a long time since a national squad was my favorite squad in FIFA, but this team is incredible. They have fast and very skillful players. Real Madrid was the best team in FIFA12 and it is not that far away of being the best one in FIFA13.

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