Today it was revealed that Tottenham Spurs player Gareth Bale will be joining Lionel Messi as the cover athlete for the UK version of FIFA 14. After the reveal, EA Sports sat down and talked with Bale about his time playing FIFA and what being on the cover means to him.
Here is the transcript:
Gareth do you play FIFA?
Yeah I play a lot with my friends from home and we have big tournaments when they come to my house and I also play online. So yes, I play a lot. Do you play as yourself on the game?
Are you happy with your stats?
I’ve played as myself a few times, the stats are good – but obviously everyone wants them to be a bit better. But it’s a great game, I enjoy playing it.
What’s it like now to be on the cover of a game that you have played since you were a kid?
To be on the front cover of a game is obviously a massive honour, particularly when you look at the people who have been on there. The players that have been on the front cover since I was a kid have obviously been legends of the game and true professionals. It’s a great honour for me and I’m very proud of it.
How did you enjoy your time at Southampton and how important was it for your development?
My time at Southampton was amazing, it’s been a big part of what has made me the footballer I am today. We had a great coaching staff, a great team and a great set-up. It was massive in my development and I think it has shown in recent years with the amount of players that Southampton have produced and who have gone onto bigger things. It’s a great club and I hope that they can keep producing the players.
Who was your football hero when growing up?
Growing up my hero was Ryan Giggs. He’s from Wales, left footed and played left wing – the same as me. It was an obvious choice, and watching him play over the years, he’s an unbelievable player and a true legend of football.
Who would you say has had the biggest influence on your career?
I would probably say it’s my Dad. Since I was 3 I have dragged him out into the park to practice and he used to take me from Southampton to Cardiff twice a week. With training and a game at the weekend. He’s given up pretty much most of his life for me and has been a massive influence and still is to this day.
You were voted double footballer of the year can you still improve?
Of course I can definitely still improve. I want to get better every year, that’s the target for every player, we want to keep improving and keep getting better and the thing you have to do is to improve on last year and keep growing as a player. Plus as you get older the experience will help you as well.
You’re now being mentioned in the same breath as Messi and Ronaldo, do you look at those players and still try and learn from them?
I’m flattered, and definitely yes. I think you see the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, and what they’re doing week-in and week-out and they are on a different level to everyone else. What they are doing is very special and everybody looks at them playing to see what they can do and try to learn from them.
What’s the best thing about being Gareth Bale?
The best thing is being involved in FIFA 14, playing football in front of big crowds and doing what you love which is playing football. I feel privileged.
Was there any movement in particular, like your free kick, one of your shots or one of your signature moves, that you really enjoyed getting down?
The things I liked to see most were the free kick technique I use, and the way I take penalties etc. It’s all interesting stuff, and to see it on the game makes it more realistic. If you could emulate the movement of any player, past or present, who would it be? I’d probably say Ryan Giggs or Maradona. Someone who can weave through players with no effort at all.
When you play FIFA what celebration do you usually do in the game?
I try and do the heart, but I can’t always do it. If I can click the buttons quickly enough though I try and use it. Could you tell us about the celebrations you captured today? I did my trademark celebration, the heart. We did a few shots of that and a couple of others which I’ve done during games last season. It’s great to see them back on the screen, and it will be brilliant to see them on the game.
Could you describe some of the other celebrations that were captured?
Mainly all the celebrations I did last season, such as jumping up and pumping my fist. Also running with my arms out like a plane.
Based on your experience today, how realistic do you think FIFA 14 will be next year?
I think FIFA 14 is going to be very authentic, I think it will have that ‘wow’ factor and will be more realistic than ever and I think that’s the main aim – to make it as realistic as possible. This year it’s improved again, and it will be a great game.
What do you think of your in-game likeness for 14 compared to last year?
Every year it’s improving, I think this year it’s unbelievable how realistic it is which is great to see, as everyone likes to see the game becoming more realistic and it’s certainly happening.
When you’re on the pitch, how do you anticipate what the defender is going to do?
The way I anticipate a defender reacting to what I’m going to do is by setting up a trick, dummying them going one way, and you go the other. I think they usually show me onto my right foot, so I know they’ll be on my left side, so I tend to cut inside and try and get a shot away or make some positive impact on the game.
FIFA 14 will release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStationVita, PlayStation 2, and PSP in North America on September 24 and worldwide on September 27. A version for the Xbox ONE and Playstation 4 is also scheduled to release sometime later this year.