The World Cup trophy

The FIFA World Cup Trophy

Football's most famous prize

The small piece of gold every footballer wants

 

The FIFA World Cup trophy is arguably the most prestigious prize in sport.

And given what happened to its predecessor, there is no surprise it is kept closely guarded.

Winning the glistening 18-carat gold trophy, which weighs just 6.175kg and stands 36.8cm tall, is the pinnacle of a footballer's career.

The select band of players who have lifted the trophy have savoured the moment because only winners and heads of states are allowed to touch it.

FIFA's general secretary Jerome Valcke said before the last World Cup in South Africa: "This trophy is unique, it has no (specific) value. Some say that the value is the equivalent of the Mona Lisa, and I think that's right."

The World Cup is guarded by tight security around the clock at a secret location in Zurich, Switzerland, for the majority of the time.

 

Jules Rimet still missing

 

FIFA take no chances after what happened to the first World Cup trophy. Named after FIFA president Jules Rimet, the trophy was stolen in London in 1966 and was found in a bush by a dog a week later just a few miles from where it had been stolen.

Once Brazil had won the Jules Rimet trophy for a third time in 1970 they were allowed to keep it permanently but it was stolen again in 1983 and has never been found. It is generally believed to have been melted down.

Learn more about the Jules Rimet trophy

 

The new World Cup trophy

 

FIFA had to commission a new trophy before the 1974 World Cup and Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga was given the task of designing it. His design is instantly recognisable, with two athletes spiralling out from the base to hold the world in their hands, and it has space for 17 plaques detailing the winners.

Unlike its predecessor, the new trophy is not named after anyone or anything. It is simply called the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

It is not only FIFA that ensure the trophy is in safe hands. After Italy were crowned champions in 2006, their captain Fabio Cannavaro slept with the trophy on the night of their triumph in Germany, but the inspirational defender was pictured looking baffled as he held a piece of green malachite that had fallen off the trophy on the Italy team bus before it was apparently glued back on.

FIFA World Cup winners get a gold-plated replica of the trophy to keep, but the original trophy is kept under the watchful eye of FIFA.

The exact value of the trophy may be unknown but for the players who get their hands on it in Brazil, the feeling of achievement will be priceless.

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