Santanu Basu plays FIFA 2014 in his Howrah home (picture by Anup Bhattacharya); (right) Robin van Persie of Manchester United shoots home against Real Madrid to net the ace gamer a Fifa top-6 goal in the 2012-13 competition
A stunning goal scored by a Calcuttan has been ranked sixth in a global competition organised by Fifa to find the sharpest shooter in football.
Santanu Basu of Howrah’s Mandirtala may not be able to salvage Manchester United’s Premiership campaign, but his turn as Robin van Persie in a game of online football did produce a moment of magic for the Red Devils to draw inspiration from.
Fifa announced last month that Santanu’s goal against Real Madrid in the 2012-13 season — the culmination of a burst of speed through the rival defence and a crafty lob over Iker Casillas’s head from an impossible angle on the edge of the penalty box — was among the best you could hope to see.
Santanu, 27, had scored the goal on his PlayStation sitting at home and competing with 2.5 million other online gamers for a shot at the Ballon d’Or and a $20,000 cheque. Van Persie’s online alter ego missed out on a chance to win the Golden Ball for the 2012-13 season, but Fifa had a surprise for him.
“One fine day this March, I received an email from Fifa informing me that my goal had been selected as one of the best. This honour has definitely compensated for my disappointment at missing out on the final,” Santanu told Metro, pausing a game of FIFA 2014.
The Man United fan is not only delighted that his goal is in the top 6, Fifa’s validation also gives him the confidence to compete against the best.
Santanu had finished 41st among 2.5 million players, including 25,000 Indians, in the 2012-13 competition. The top 20 made it to the final.
FIFA Interactive World Cup is an annual virtual league organised by football’s world governing body in association with EA Sports and Sony PlayStation. The league, held between October 1, 2012, and April 1, 2013, was played over six rounds spanning a month each.
The top 20 players in the league squared off in the grand final at Madrid, Spain.
Frenchman Bruce Grannec triumphed over Mexican Andrei Torres Vivero in the final round and earned a chance to rub shoulders with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.
The final of the 2013-14 season will be in Rio de Janeiro, coinciding with the Fifa World Cup. Santanu’s entry for the competition is a “samurai bicycle kick” by Brazilian legend Zico, who is part of the Classic XI in FIFA ’14.
Santanu’s “Van Persie goal” has been uploaded on the Fifa website and YouTube, though that isn’t his only claim to fame. The Howrah gamer is the first from Bengal to don India colours in the e-sports category at the fourth edition of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Incheon, South Korea.
In October 2013, he was granted full-time sponsorship for all tournaments, something that he says was “more difficult earning than beating Barcelona in World Class mode in FIFA games!”
Tte Sports, a Taiwanese company that manufactures gaming and computers accessories, has taken him on board for three years.
The biggest hurdle in Santanu’s quest for gaming glory is bandwidth. “The drawback of playing online from India is that our Internet bandwidth is much lower than most other countries. There is so much lag during games. While I play over a 2Mbps connection from home, my opponent from Germany or China plays on 30Mbps,” he rued.
Santanu also wishes his skills on the console could help David Moyes’s team turn the corner. “Now if only I could step into Van Persie’s boots on the pitch!” the Man United fan quipped.
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