Record-breaking FIFA 13 tournament set for Madrid grand final

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FIFA 13's hugely popular FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) mode has become the world's largest online gaming tournament as a record-breaking 2.5 million players have taken part in this year's competition.

And new research has claimed the tournament could even be an indicator of latent managerial talent - the next Pep Guardiola may be battling his Jose Mourinho equivalent online as we speak. 

Because it turns out a whopping 71 per cent of FIWC players say they would be happy if the team they supported appointed one of their fellow FIWC players as first-team boss, while 51 per cent believe playing in the tournament improves managerial skills.

Almost four in five stated the FIWC boosts a fan's understanding of tactics, and broadens their knowledge of different styles, formations and strategies.

Reigning world champion Alfonso Ramos coaches his local team when he's not taking on all comers online, and he thinks the FIWC is a superb way to hone your managerial expertise.

"Playing FIFA 13 and taking part in the FIWC has really fine-tuned my tactical knowledge and my decision making has improved greatly," said Ramos.

"There are so many good FIFA 13 players in the tournament that your positional play has to be spot on otherwise you'll get picked off, and I know that playing the game has really sharpened mine.

"I have a greater appreciation of the game of football and management of a team because of my experiences in the FIWC."

This year's grand final in Madrid brings together the world's top 21 virtual footballers in a showpiece occasion to crown a FIWC 2013 champion. More than 2.5 million players have been whittled down in a series of regional events.

And now the Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's of the gaming world are set to converge on the Spanish capital to battle it out for Ramos' crown between May 6th and May 8th.

None of the superstar gamers have landed any top European jobs just yet, but the best of the best have been rubbing shoulders with their counterparts in the real footballing world.

Two-time champion Ramos took on Barcelona defender Gerard Pique in a game of FIFA 13 after winning the tournament last year, before jetting off to attend the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala to watch Leo Messi pick up his fourth award.

You can watch all of the action from this year's competition as the event will be streamed live at 

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