Benedikt “saLz0r” Saltzer is one of the best FIFA players of the world. Take a look to his interview now that eSports and FIFA 17 Champions Series are becoming more and more popular.
Benedikt “saLz0r” Saltzer Interview
Benedikt “saLz0r” Saltzer is a pioneer in the world of FIFA competitive gaming. He got his start with FIFA Football 2002, but it wasn’t until FIFA 08 that he debuted on the competitive circuit. “Soon I [was] recognized [as] talented for playing FIFA, and my friends stopped being real opponents for me,” saLz0r remembers in an interview.
Looking for bigger challenges, he came across the then-named Electronic Sports League, now ESL, and started competing there. Success came to saLz0r very quickly after that, and he earned his first FIFA German Master Title in 2009.That trophy jumpstarted his very successful competitive career that includes four German Championships, a European Championship with Team Germany in 2011, and a Top 8 finish in the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) in 2016. Despite all those accolades, the German veteran will always have a special place in his heart for his 2009 victory. “What I will always keep in my mind is my first German Master Title,” saLz0r says. “However, the FIWC Top 8 placement in New York was a unique experience, too.”
saLz0r’s success was enough for him to be recognized within the FIFA competitive gaming community as one of the best. However, in May 2015 his name rose to the next level when he became the first-ever EA SPORTS FIFA player to sign a contract with a professional club—Bundesliga side, VfL Wolfsburg. “I am really proud of being the first FIFA player having ever signed with a professional team,” saLz0r reflects with a smile on his face. “This cannot be topped by anyone, ever.” This relationship with Wolfsburg has radically changed saLz0r’s life. “Now I am more and more recognized, even in Germany. I have appeared several times on TV and I am interviewed very often, but the public spotlight was quite new for me at the beginning,” he admits. “However, now I am really proud and happy to be known and respected for something that was originally only my hobby. Furthermore, I am very grateful to VfL Wolfsburg for placing their confidence in me.”
Signing saLz0r proved to be an innovative decision; it raised awareness among elite clubs about the growing competitive FIFA community. Since then, other top tier clubs around the world—like Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, AS** **Monaco, and River Plate—have followed suit in signing FIFA competitors to their rosters. And in an effort to garner FIFA competition on the virtual pitch, top European leagues have recently launched FIFA competitive leagues, including Ligue 1, the Eredivisie, and the Bundesliga. Being a veteran competitor, saLz0r has also been able to experience the evolution of the FIFA competitive landscape for the better part of the last decade. “Nowadays, FIFA is far more important than before,” saLz0r explains. “FIFA is considered to be a real eSports title. The FIFA competitive scene has expanded extremely rapidly because of football associations joining in.” “I am very happy about this development,” he adds, “and I am sure that this trend will continue and that we are only at the beginning! FIFA will continue to increase its relevance as more and more football associations participate.”
The Wolfsburg player has one clear goal for 2017. “I want to participate as a player in the FIFA Ultimate Team Championship Series and to qualify for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2017 finals.”
saLz0r is often calm when he has possession of the ball and displays tactical discipline in all areas of the park. When you add his experience to his impressive 153 wins and only 7 losses during qualification, saLz0r is pegged as a favourite by many. Yet having the favourite tag going into an event does not phase the seasoned competitor. “I don’t feel any extra pressure,” he says. “Qualifying online demands really high playing standards from everyone. Playing 40 games fully concentrated, week after week, for more than one month requires a first-class level of competition. However, this does not mean I am an automatic favourite. I’ll focus on one game at a time.”
After an early exit last year in the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the Paris Regional Final may provide saLz0r with a cathartic opportunity. “I would be pleased to get the possibility of playing against Ivan ‘BorasLegend’ Lapanje because I would get the chance to get revenge for New York,” says saLz0r, referring to when BorasLegend beat the German in the quarterfinals round. Regardless of what he achieves for the rest of his competitive career, the name of Benedikt “saLz0r” Saltzer is already in the history books as a pioneer on the FIFA competitive gaming scene.