When someone talks about the most important title a football player can aspire to, the image of a trophy comes to mind: The World Cup. Since Silvio Gazzaniga’s design was chosen as the winner from more than 50 designs in 1972, FIFA and the entire sporting world have been captivated by the uniqueness and significance of his trophy.
The spectacularity of the sculpture was evident with its 36.8 centimetres of height and its 5 kilos of pure gold. The base also contains two discs of malachite, a green semi-precious stone, which makes it absolutely impossible to create two identical trophies. Both its shape and brilliance make this trophy hypnotic for anyone who can observe it in person.
Its design curiously invites you to do exactly what it symbolizes. Two human figures jubilantly raising the globe in victory over the rest of the nations.
A symbolism that far from increasing the differences between countries invites to unity and joy regardless of race, sex or age. Since 1974 tens of thousands of players from all over the world have longed to lift it but only 12 captains have been able to do so. Despite being in the collective imagination as the Trophy par excellence, it has not been the only one awarded by FIFA.
What trophy was there then and who was the first to win it?
Jules Rimet was appointed the third FIFA President in 1921. After the end of the First World War having won the Croix de Guerre he decided to create a trophy that would symbolize something more glorious and human for the winner of the first international World Cup to be held in 1930.
French sculptor Abel Lafleur was hired for the occasion and he did not disappoint. If they wanted to create a prize for the winning team, no one better than the Greek goddess Nike, goddess of victory, as the main figure of the trophy. In the sculpture she can be seen holding a decagonal cup at the top, from which the winners would drink.
At 35 centimetres high, the Victoria Cup was made of gilded silver with a lapis lazuli base, making it one of the most expensive trophies of the time. Uruguay was the first country to host the World Cup, and in turn, was the first team to win the trophy. This was followed by Italy (1934, 1938), Uruguay (1930, 1950), Germany (1954), England (1966) and Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970).
Having won their third FIFA World Cup at Mexico 1970, the Brazilian national team earned the right to keep the Jules Rimet Cup, in accordance with FIFA regulations, and so the current cup was designed.