The coveted virtual football title is heading to Spain after a spectacular final in Berlin.
After a day of intense action in front of a 10,500 strong crowd inside Berlin's Sony Centre, Alfonso Ramos of Sama de Langreo, Spain, became the FIFA Interactive World Player of 2008 and scored US$20,000 in the process.
He beat previous tournament winner, Chris Bullard of England, in the group stages and recovered from defeat against one of the favourites, Brazilian Andre Buffo, to power his way into the semi-finals. From there, his class shone through and he took the prize with a stylish 3-1 victory against Michael Ribeiro of the USA in the final.
Chris Bullard, a previous FIFA Interactive World Cup winner, believes Ramos deserved his victory. "Alfonso thoroughly deserved the title as he was the best among us - and not just today but also over the past three months," he said.
Former Ghana international and the first African to play in Germany's Bundesliga, Anthony Baffoe, co-hosted the event and was impressed by the overall standard. "There was all-out effort, just as in real football," he said. "Apart from quick fingers, you need tactical nous and a footballer's big heart."
The FIFA Interactive World Cup is the world's official FIFA football gaming tournament, inviting players to qualify by playing FIFA 08 on PlayStation 3, either at events in cities throughout the world, or online.
There was more to the final than the tournament itself; attendees could also try out the latest games, watch performances from German hip-hop artist Das Bo and football freestyler John Farnworth, play table football and meet real life players.
Wherever the 2009 final is held, you can be sure that Ramos will be there to defend his title, and that this year's other participants will be just as eager to take it from him.
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