Alfonso Ramos finally accomplished what so many former FIFA Interactive World Cup champions have failed to do. The Spaniard is the first player to ever win the FIWC title twice (2008, 2012).
FIFA.com met with Alfonso to relive the Grand Final, held in Dubai from 21-23 May. In the first of a two-part interview with the new champion, Ramos discusses his motivation for winning, his secret to success and his recent meeting with fellow world champion Xabi Alonso.
FIFA.com: Alfonso, how did it feel to make history by winning the FIWC12 title ?
Alfonso Ramos: It is a very special feeling because i'm the first champion to win it twice. It's unbelievable!
Does this victory feel different to your FIWC win in 2008?
I think that the competition has changed a lot. The number of competitors is so much larger and the competition is so much harder than in it was 2008.
Many champions have tried, and failed, to repeat their FIWC triumph. What was your crucial ingredient?
To remain loyal to my playing style. Up until ten days before the final I was playing with a 4-1-2-1-2 formation. Then one day I thought to myself: 'This is not me, this is not my style'. So I decided to switch to my old 4-2-2-2 formation. The rest is history.
A few days after your win you had the chance to meet Xabi Alonso for an interview. Can you tell us about the experience!
It was amazing! Xabi is one of my favourite football players. In person he is just like on the pitch, a gentleman. We were talking about so many things before the interview. He is a very nice guy.
What did you and Xabi talk about?
We talked about our experiences and feelings of being world champions. After finishing the interview we played a FIFA 12 match, with Real Madrid of course.
The FIWC12 Final was really dramatic. You missed your first two penalties. At that moment, what was running through your mind?
I thought that it was almost over, but as a Real Madrid supporter I love epic comebacks!
FIWC12 runner-up Bruce Grannec is a very calm and controlled player. In contrast, you're very expressive and emotional during matches. How does this expression help you in game?
Shouting Vamos! when I score a goal motivates me. It makes me feel more confident and it alleviates the pressure.
Before your semifinal you mentioned that you didn’t think you would win the tournament because you felt that you weren't as prepared as in 2008. Do you think this relaxed manner helped you win?
Yes, being relaxed helped me a lot throughout the tournament. However, another key to my performance was the statement that Kai Wollin made before the quarterfinals. He said that he wanted to play against me in the semifinals because he had already defeated me in the group stage [Kai beat Alfonso 3-1 in their group stage match]. His statement motivated me. It strengthened my resolve and made me more confident.
You are also a football player and coach in real life. How did that help you to improve in EA SPORTS™ FIFA12?
I think I can handle the pressure better and I can make faster decisions on the pitch. Tactics from real football allow me to analyze my opponents, to block their game style and to defend better.
This year, three Grand Finalists had professional football experience. Do you think this gave them an advantage over other players?
Yes, of course. If you play football professionally you have abilities that others lack. Playing on such a high level must surely help you.
Want to know how whose performance in Dubai surprised Ramos the most, what his Grand Final highlights were and what his expectations for EA SPORTS™ FIFA 13 are? Find out in the second part of our interview with the champion, which will be published next week!