Silvio Gazzaniga, creator of the FIFA World Cup Trophy, passed away Monday at the age of 95. Gazzaniga’s son, Giorgio, said his father passed away in his sleep at home in Milan.
“He just didn’t wake up this morning. It was a peaceful death,” Giorgio Gazzaniga said, adding that his father had been in the hospital recently for a series of minor ailments.
After Brazil retained the right to keep the Jules Rimet trophy by winning its third World Cup in 1970, a new prize was needed for the greatest football tournament on the globe. Gazziniga’s design was selected out of 53 proposals Fifa received in 1971, AP writes.
“The World Cup is a mythic object for the players and for all football lovers,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.
“We will be eternally grateful. I express my condolences by joining the pain of the family.”
The 18-carat solid gold trophy weighs approximately six kilograms, and it depicts a moment of joy: two players celebrating with their arms outstretched and a globe resting on the backs of their shoulders.
“The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world,” said the artist of his work.
“From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory.”
The first country to lift the new trophy was Germany FR at the 1974 edition on home soil, though Gazzaniga remembers fondly his home country Italy winning the trophy he made in 1982.
“There were countless people rejoicing in the streets. It looked like they’d gone mad.”
Unlike the Jules Rimet trophy, the original FIFA World Cup Trophy remains permanently in FIFA’s possession, with the winners awarded a replica.
“A work of art is a bit like one’s child, as it’s a creation,” Gazzaniga, who primarily designed medals and trophies as an artist, said in an interview once.
“I designed it to reward heroism.
“But not superhuman heroism. It’s not a conventional cup.”
His legacy will continue to live on for many more years as a prize for the greatest accomplishment in the beautiful game.