Victor Cruz is famous for catching footballs and dancing the salsa. So what’s he doing at an event promoting a soccer video game?
“I play ‘FIFA’ a lot in my spare time,” Cruz said. “Because of ‘FIFA,’ I actually watch real soccer, and now I’m just a really big fan of the sport.”
Cruz joined rapper Snoop Dogg and New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill at the “FIFA 13” launch party Monday night at SPiN New York.
Being an American football star, Cruz hoped to show how the “FIFA” game is for more than just soccer enthusiasts -- even NFL fans can enjoy it.
Cruz spoke with ESPN Playbook about his love of soccer, the Giants and the replacement refs.
Have you ever played any soccer?
Coming up for me, we didn’t know of any soccer teams. We played basketball, football and baseball. But I wish I would’ve played, because now that I’m older I’ve taken a liking to it and I watch it all the time.
Playing "FIFA" and gaining an interest in it, do you find yourself following the overseas game closely? Are you ever up at 7 a.m. on a Sunday watching an EPL match?
I do. I don’t get up earlier, but I catch up with all the highlights when I’m at the Giants' facility and things like that. I keep up with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, and a couple of those teams. Man U.
Which is your team?
Real Madrid. You can’t go wrong with Real Madrid. Ronaldo has kind of always been my favorite player, and since I started watching soccer I sort of watched him. So I figured I’d latch onto him.
Have you met any soccer players in your travels?
Unfortunately, I haven’t. At least not yet. Now that I did this event and they see how big of an advocate I am, now I’m in the world so maybe we’ll see.
How do you feel about your Giants’ chances this season?
It feels good. We didn’t start off well, but we’ve bounced back and we’re playing pretty well. We’re just now getting into the grind and getting used to the season. The sky’s the limits for us, man. I think we have a bunch of talent if we keep everybody healthy for the remainder of the season, we should go a very long way.
What do you think about the replacement refs?
It’s kind of tough. It’s tough understanding that they’re not trained to see a lot of these calls that the other refs have seen more. It’s tough for them, but they’re trying their best and that’s all we can ask of them.
Could you imagine European or South American soccer using replacement refs?
No way. [Laughs] I hope that never happens. I hope those soccer refs never go on strike or anything like that, especially with the high volume of soccer they play out there. That could be really bad.