- Azpilicueta welcomes 32 Grand Finalists to London
- Chelsea full-back weighs in on team-mates' FIFA skills "Kante is the worst, Thibaut the best.”
- Cesar reveals his top choice club for playing FIFA
“To see your face in your favourite video game, to be a part of it, it's really emotional," Cesar Azpilicueta tellsFIFA.com while sitting in the SkyLoft - a warehouse style space located on the 29th floor of Millbank Tower with wrap-around views of London.
The Chelsea fullback, who has made London his home since 2012, is a massive fan of EA SPORTS™ FIFA. "Every year when the game comes out, the first thing I do is check my stats,” he said. “They have improved over the years, so at least I can say that I’m happy.”
The Stamford Bridge stalwart and Spain International drove directly from a team training session to make it in time to host the Player Presentation for the 2017 Grand Final, where he was able to meet all 32 of the Grand Finalists and hand them their official player jerseys for the tournament.
“Living in London is an amazing experience. I really enjoy it,” said the two-time Premier League winner. "To have this competition here is very important and I think everyone is quite happy to travel here.”
"Just as a fan, I’m happy to be part of the FIWC,” he added. “This is a big tournament with the best players in the world. I think they have worked really hard to be here today in the biggest competition. Just to make it this far and to be part of it, they should be proud. But I’m sure that won’t be enough for them. As sportsman they will all fight for the trophy.”
The Spain international is no stranger to big moments, having represented La Roja at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. “Personally when I represent my country it’s the proudest moment,” he says. “So for these finalists to represent their country is something special. You feel something different in that moment and I’m sure they will try their best.”
The defender is a big fan of the FIFA game, but admits that age and children have cut down on his PlayStation time. “I’ve always really liked video games,” he says. "I started playing really young and, as you can guess, football games have always been my favourite. FIFA especially. I played whenever I could. Now, older, with a family, it’s more complicated, but whenever I have some spare time I play the game."
Asked who his team of choice is in FIFA 17, the Chelsea vice-captain is guarded in his response: “I don’t normally play with my team. I to try to avoid it. I like to change teams.”
Pressed further to reveal his favourite team, the Spanish full back finally relents: “I really love to play with my home town, Osasuna. The place where I grew up as a child, where I was in the academy until the first team.”
Azpilicueta spent nine years at Osasuna, rising through the youth system and eventually making 99 appearances for the senior team before moving on to Marseille and finally Chelsea, where he has spent five years, amassing 160 appearances and three goals.
Asked if he is ever tempted to put himself as striker on his virtual team, a position where the full back actually started his career, the Chelsea man laughed: “No, no, It will not work!”
As for his Blues teammates, Cesar has strong views on their FIFA skills. “(Ngolo) Kante is the worst, Thibaut is probably the best,” he said with a smile.
*The FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final 2017 takes place from 16 to 18 August. Watch all three-days of the Grand Final live on FIFA.com *