Bullard tips Mexican for glory

The very mention of the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final brings back pleasant memories for Chris Bullard. The Englishman surprised everyone to win the event in his homeland back in 2005, which altered the course of his life phenomenally.

"It's changed my life massively," he told FIFA.com. "I turned up in London two and a half years ago and won the Grand Final as an unknown gamer. A few weeks after the tournament I had a phone call asking whether I'd like to become a professional and then I earned a franchise spot, earning money for doing what I love - that's what winning the Grand Final has done for me.

"Winning the event and attending the World Player Gala in Zurich are moments you never forget. I took my dad as a guest - and I think that's one of the best experiences of his life too - not just mine. We also went to the World Cup in Germany too - it was an incredible experience. I'm hungry for it to happen again."

But what are the chances of the 21-year-old being crowned FIFA World Player for an unprecedented second time? The Chelsea supporter isn't too confident.

Mixed feelings
"I've got mixed feelings really," he continued. "As well as being the week leading up to the FIFA Interactive Grand Final, it's the Championship Gaming Series tournament on PC - obviously the Grand Final is on PS3, so I've been unable to train for a couple of weeks. But hopefully, what I'm lacking in match practice I'll make up for in experience.

I've played in two Grand Finals before so I'm well equipped to deal with the pressure. You need an extra edge, to be able to be relaxed and calm when the lights and cameras are on you.
Chris Bullard believes that playing in two FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Finals could stand him in good stead in Berlin on Saturday.

" I've played in two Grand Finals before so I'm well equipped to deal with the pressure. You need an extra edge, to be able to be relaxed and calm when the lights and cameras are on you. It will be interesting to see how the online qualifiers fare - often it's quite easy to play when you're at home, but when you get to the big stage, it's a completely different ball game."

Bullard also believes that the event has become more prestigious as the years have progressed. "It's grown quite a lot, both in terms of the scale and the quality of players," he opined. "At the last Grand Final, there were only about eight genuine contenders, but in Berlin, I think that there are 16 players who have a very good chance of winning. Obviously, I'm aiming to be champion again but because of the lack of practice, I would be happy with a spot in the top three.

So, who does Bullard rate as his main challenger?

"I think Zerocero (Ruben Morales) is probably the favourite," he said. "He's got experience of the Grand Final and I just have the feeling that this year is going to be his year. He's always come close at major tournaments and he's put the effort online."