As the competition is hotting up in this year's event, Alfonso Ramos, the 2008 winner of the FIFA Interactive World Cup, picks up his award at the FIFA World Player Gala in Switzerland. Sign up now to stake your claim for footballing glory.
On January 13, 2009, Spain's Alfonso Ramos, winner of the first Interactive World Cup on PlayStation 3, received his official winner's trophy at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich. At the same time, the venue for the competition grand final in May 2009 was confirmed.
At the ceremony, hosted by FIFA, Ramos stood alongside legends of football past and present, including newly crowned FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo.
Describing his visit to Switzerland to pick up his award, Ramos told eu.playstation.com: "It was an intense day. First I visited the offices of FIFA, and after that I went to the hotel to get changed for the gala. After that, I had a press conference, before the players did theirs, I chatted with them a bit, and then it was time for the Gala itself. After that we had dinner and then returned to the hotel."
As well as picking up the trophy for winning the FIFA Interactive World Cup in 2008 at the final in Berlin, Ramos had a chance to get up close and personal with some of his footballing idols. "The most memorable thing was chatting with the players. I spent about an hour with them, and even got a chance to play FIFA 09 with some of them on the PS3 - Fernando Torres was very good at it!"
For the 2009 competition, the FIFA Interactive World Cup has received a record number of entrants with over 300,000 competitors already signed up by January 2009. Players of EA SPORTS FIFA 09 for PlayStation 3 are all battling it out to be crowned the best virtual footballer in the world and receive the USD 20,000 1st place prize.
If you've think you've got what it takes to be number one, there's still time to get involved before the deadline at the end of March 31, 2009. All you need to start your path to glory is pick up a copy of FIFA 09 and go online with PlayStation Network.
At the same time as presenting Ramos with his trophy, FIFA, EA and SCEE announced that the FIWC 09 grand final in May will take place in Barcelona, one of the world's greatest football cities.
The glamorous grand final marks the culmination of months of qualifying rounds taking place both online via PlayStation Network and at FIWC 09 Live Qualifier Events around the globe, in countries including Australia, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, South Africa and the US.
"We got involved in the FIFA Interactive World Cup with the intention of creating an iconic gaming competition, and to achieve the huge increase in competitors that we have seen this year is something that exceeds even our most optimistic predictions," said Darren Carter, Vice President for Brand and Consumer Marketing, SCEE. "Everything about the FIWC this year is bigger and better and to see so many competing online on PlayStation Network really highlights how PlayStation has grown along with the tournament. We can't wait to welcome the best virtual footballers to Barcelona, Spain."
Matt Bilbey, Vice President International Marketing, EA SPORTS, added: "We are extremely proud to once again be supporting the FIWC alongside FIFA and Sony Computer Entertainment. We believe that FIFA 09 is our best ever football title and we are delighted to see so many gamers battling it out both online and at physical qualifying events around the world. The FIWC has grown over the years to become a truly global gaming competition which captures the heart and spirit of football and gaming and we look forward to crowning this year's victor at the grand final in May."
Details about the live qualifier events near you will be made available over the coming weeks at www.FIFA.com/FIWC, so check in regularly to keep your fingers on the pulse of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009.