World Cup winning midfielder Christian Karembeu has some advice for budding football stars, both in the real world and the virtual – the key to success is mental preparation and concentration.
The former-Real Madrid man was speaking to GiveMeFootball at the FIWC Grand Final in Madrid, where he’s an ambassador for FIFA.
With the world’s 21 best FIFA 13 players in attendance, Karembeu – who’s played at the highest level of competition with Madrid, Sampdoria, Olympiakos and France - was more than happy to give advice on what it takes to succeed in elite tournaments.
“It is all mental,” Karembeu told GiveMeFootball. “When you reach a final, for me the mental [side of the game] is 70 per cent or 80 per cent of the work.
“The skills and abilities come with the remaining 20 per cent. Any athlete in the world will say that.”
A World Cup winner on home soil with France in 1998, Karembeu admitted he could sympathise with what two-time FIWC champion and home favourite Alfonso Ramos will be going through at the Grand Final.
“From 2.5 million players registered to just one – it is a lot of pressure,” Karembeu continued. “When it gets to the final anything can happen [though]. There are many parameters [that can affect the outcome].”
Karembeu, a two-time Champions League winner himself, first got involved with the FIWC Grand Final two years ago heading into the 2012 final in Dubai.
“Two years ago it started in Dubai for me,” said Karembeu. “I discovered this incredible game. It was impressive. The incredible final with the penalty kicks.”
Ramos defeated Frenchman Bruce Grannec in the final of last year’s competition in the most dramatic fashion.
120 minutes of virtual action failed to separate Grannec and Ramos, taking the final – with a $20,000 prize – to penalty kicks. Seven of the 14 attempted were missed until Ramos, with Real Madrid player Jose Callejon, slotted home the winning effort to win it 4-3.
It takes some nerve to finish a tournament-winning penalty, and Karembeu revealed he was full of admiration for the FIWC stars.
"The pressure you can deal with. But when the opponent is in front of you it is a confrontation," said the ex-Bernabeu midfielder. "It is a confrontation because they are so close. It is not like we are on a pitch, where we are just part of 22 players."