Roberto Garrapa from Milan tasted victory at the legendary San Siro in his home town today, as he overcame the best football gamers in Italy and was crowned champion of the Italy FIFA Interactive World Cup Final 2008.
There was no UEFA Champions League football at the San Siro this week following the exit of both Milan teams at the Round of 16 stage, but top quality football was brought to the stadium today, of the interactive variety with the Italian final of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2008.
The Italian Qualifier Events have taken place all around the country and this final brought together players from many of the great football cities of Italy, with all the old rivalries of Rome, Turin, Milan and more now being brought to the virtual world of football.
Roberto, although playing as his favoured Barcelona team within the game, was proud to be bringing the title home to Milan, and it was especially sweet for him to do so at the stadium of his beloved AC Milan team. An excited Roberto said, "I feel fantastic. I have trained very hard for this day. My opponents here today were all very good, but I always believed that I could win."
The Finalists were joined at the stadium today by two Rossoneri favourites, AC Milan players Massimo Ambrosini and Daniele Bonera. They took the opportunity to show off their skills on the virtual form of the game, with Ambrosini, the favourite to replace Paolo Maldini as club captain at the end of the season, congratulating all the finalists on their success so far and wishing them luck for the final.
The competition was fierce as every one of these Finalists had already won a regional event to earn their place at the San Siro. The standard was high, but the tension was clearly too much for some players who failed to perform as well as is necessary at this level.
The two finalists handled the big occasion well, however, and the match was an exciting encounter with both Roberto Garrapa and Salvatore Barbato playing free flowing attacking football. In the end it was decided by which team took their chances, and it was Roberto's Barcelona who won through 3-1.
Roberto had travelled over 200km just to attend the regional event that had started his FIFA Interactive World Cup journey. He now looks forward to another journey, this time to Berlin in May, and is confident of his chances, saying: "I play online against a lot of the best players in Europe that have already qualified for the Grand Final. I am looking forward to meeting them in person, and I believe that I can win."
The FIFA Interactive World Cup now switches its attention far away to the other side of the world as the New Zealand Qualifier takes place this weekend in Auckland. After that, there only remains the UK and German events before the Grand Final line-up is completed.