BOOTS, BALLS & GOALS: Created by a Master Sculptor, Lifted by Legends of the Beautiful Game.

Making of the World Cup Trophy.
It really means a lot to lay your sweaty victorious hands on the precious, adorable golden globed trophy called the World Cup and lift it up in front of hundreds of thousands watching fans in the stadium, and billions others who are following the event on media. It is a moment, an experience in one’s lifetime that is forever etched in the annals of history, to be remembered forever. Brazil, a team we all consciously and subconsciously support brings along with them this champions-in-waiting swagger, self -belief, winning mentality, supremacy and exuberance in their Samba style soccer playing, flair and flamboyance in their character that they are synonymous with this pricey trophy. So well etched, sculptured and designed is the FIFA World Cup trophy that it stands out from many other equally impressive trophies like the FIFA Clubs World Europa League Cup, Larry O’Brien NBA Trophy and the Copa del Rey Cup (Spain).

The Sculptor Masters of Italy

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Silvio Gazzaniga, the creative mind behind the iconic WC trophy.
Silvio Gazzaniga, the creative mind behind the iconic WC trophy.

It had to be Italy! He had to come from there. Yes! This is the land with a rich history and tradition, with a people blessed with skills and mastery to become some of the best and most re-known sculptors in the history of mankind. there is clear evidence of the great creations, as they stand outside iconic landmarks and buildings, a reminder of a once great and powerful civilizations that ruled the land. indeed, scattered across the country of Italy, Greece and even France are some of the great works done by Michelangelo, Stephano Maderno, Michelozzo, Bartolomeo Bandinelli, Antonio Rosellino and others. they were great artists, master sculptors, and man of high reputation in the society, especially the early civilizations. They found inspiration from philosophy, religion and issues in real life such as politics and human social life. They had unimaginable intelligence and designs in their creative minds. Their skilled hands created and curved some of the finest pieces of art of all the time, such as Donatello’s sculpture of Judith and Holofernes in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence (Italy), the 16 foot Hercules and Cacus sculpture by Bartolomeo Bandinelli in Pizza della Signoria, Florence, Buonarroti Michelangelo’ s sculpture of David in Florence and Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City).

The Great Commission

After the losing the Jules Rimet trophy to theft in Brazil back in 1983, FIFA sought out new design and inspiration in creating a new look World Cup. 53 submissions were requested for from 7 countries by FIFA, with the winner to be given the noble task of designing and creating the greatest trophies of all. Luck, merit, favor and God’s finger pointed on Silvio Gazzaniga, an elderly private Italian sculptor from Milan. Over time, it seemed he had always been preparing for the big job, as he earned his living from creating mementos that signified peoples’ moments of victory and exemplary achievements. Then working as a creative director in a design firm in Milan, Gazzaniga learnt of the FIFA’s quest and committed himself to the developing new concepts and ideas that could fit the intimidating task. The big idea that ultimately made him get the job was his creative thinking through the changing fortunes of time. The present moments, as technology advanced and new media came into limelight, FIFA would definitely be looking for a precious sculpture that was good looking and adorable on the new media. It was a beginning of a new era, and the winds of change demanded a new concept and design, away from the Jules Rimet’s rigid trophy inspired design.

The Birth of a new Sculpture Master and Legend

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Masters of tha Art: A Michelangelo Masterpiece, the Pieta

The ghosts of the old masters of Michelangelo, Stephano Maderno, Michelozzo, Bandinelli over themselves as they danced and indulged themselves around and in Gazzaniga’s mind. Here was almost another legend to join their elite class. This was the ultimate make or break exam. Gazzaniga, like a man touched and inspired by the gods of the Romans, went away from the conservative conceptualization of the old World Cup trophy, and let his mind, creativity, curves and twitching butt go on an overdrive. Taking pleasure in creating a sculpture of beauty, he was generous with the aesthetics, curves, spirals, and intricate details as he developed his concept on a trophy with a wide base, a narrowed mid-section and beautiful curves that sprung outwards to receive and hold the World at the top. Indeed, this was a world cup! Along the major curves that outline the sides of the cup from the narrowed mid-section were images of the heroes whose dream came true. Soccer is a game of passion, a fight between two teams that bring forth their best. The contest is for the ultimate price, but triumph comes through use of energy, strength, speed agility, creativity and force to emerge victorious. As such, the human like images although opposing each other for the ultimate price, still embrace and celebrate with the whole world. Soccer is a lovely game of people.

The World Cup
A trophy and price worth fighting for on the biggest global stage ever.
A trophy and price worth fighting for on the biggest global stage ever.

The concept and mold were then submitted to FIFA and the verdict waited, with the unease that always comes when genius creations developed out of passion are handed over for other to judge.

Alas, the gods were with Silvio Gazzaniga. His flair and exuberance in design and generosity in aesthetics in his concept. His mold and way of thinking was exactly what FIFA needed; as it captured their hearts, minds and souls and the very spirit of modern football, and the coming of of age of new media. Soccer as a popular game loved and supported globally, has world-wide fans who are loyal and supportive to their teams. The World Cup, a tournament organized by FIFA every after 4 years is the greatest sporting event globally that brings all nations together to celebrate their best as they fought out for honors. The newly designed World Cup, in its full splendor was a beauty to behold especially in the jubilant hands of the victors as they lifted the iconic trophy. The gleaming gold in the sun, amidst celebrations, glamor and the ecstatic mood of the moment would surely be a good addition in the much loved and followed game. In 1974, , Silvio Gazzaniga newly designed and trophy iconic produced by Bertoni, Milano and was was lifted in Germany by Franz Beckenbauer for the first time. Germany, on home soil inspired by the exploits of their captain overcome an equally strong and imposing Netherlands side led by the legendary Johan Cruyff.It was a sweet moment for the inventor

The Trophy made for Legends

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Best of the Best: A trophy for Legends in the game

Indeed, Silvio Gazzaniga is a legend and the old sculpture masters must be proud to be joined by another of their own. He created a sculpture that is heavily guarded and marketed all over the world. The World Cup trophy, a priced possession by the winners, a heartbreak from the losers who were so close to touch, kiss and lift it; and a motivation to hundred thousands of many soccer players who dream, sweat on the green turfs and exhibit their talents and athleticism to have a chance to hold it someday. Representing one’s nation and winning a cap is sweet and an honor to self and country, but lifting the golden trophy in triumphant, amidst the madness of the moment is the ultimate dream of every able-bodied professional soccer athlete. Legends such as Franz ‘der Kaiser’ Beckenbauer (Germany-1874), Daniel Alberto Passarell (Argentina, 1978), Dino Zoff (Italy,1982), Diego Maradona (Argentina, 1986), Lothar Herbert Matthäus (Germany, 1990)Dunga (Brazil, 1994), Didier Claude Deschamps (France, 1998), Cafu (Brazil, 2002), Fabio ‘Berlin Wall’ Cannavaro (Italy, 2006), Iker Casillas (South Africa, 2010), and Philip Lahm (Germany, 2014). These are 11 times, with 2018 loading. It is indeed an emotional moment for the legendary sculptor, every time the trophy is lifted by worthy hands of great legends of the beautiful game who equally cement their names and national status in the annals of history as winners. Germany already bagged it thrice already.

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