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май 25, 2018

THE "HOLY GRAAL" OF FOOTBALL

At 14 of June, in Russia, thirty-two national teams will be involved in the biggest football competition in the world, the FIFA World Cup 2018, with the objective of rising the most wanted trophy, the Jules Rimet Cup

By JOÃO BOTEQUILHA

Let's take a look then, to the history of the "Holy Graal" of football, risen for the first time in 1930 at the hands of Uruguay's national team. Curiously, this was the sole year the host was also the winner of the competition.

The official cup of the World Cup, as we know it today, is not the original version. The first one was created by the sculptor Abel Lafleur and had the name of the French football player and former president of FIFA, Jules Rimet, engraved. This trophy, measuring 35 centimeters high, weighted 6175 grams and was made with gold plates in a silver base and represented Niké, the Greek goddess of victory. The 'Jules Rimet Cup' was delivered to the winners of the competition from 1930 to 1970.

The history of the trophy is worthy of a movie: absurd, confusing, irregular, though heroic. The last country to win the trophy before World War II was Italy, in 1938. While the war was already going on, Ottorino Barassi, Italian vice-president of FIA, secretly removed it from the bank where it was held. Barassi hide it in a shoe box, under his bed, to prevent the Nazis of stealing it.

During the four decades it was prized, the Jules Rimet Cup was stolen twice. It disappeared for the first time in 1966, four months after the World Cup in England, when it was being exposed in Westminster Central Hall. It was discovered seven days later by a dog, wrapped in a newspaper and hidden in the woods at a garden South of London.

In 1970, after three victories, Brazil claimed the right to keep it, accordingly with the desires of football player Jules Rimet. But, it would be stolen again at December, 19, 1983, during an exhibition in the Brazilian Football Confederation's headquarters, in Rio de Janeiro. The cup was never found.

To replace the Jules Rimet cup, FIFA commissioned the production of a new cup in 1970. Twenty-three proposals, from seven countries, were examined. The version of Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga, was the chosen one. The new trophy, without its base, is 36,8 centimeters high and weights 6175 grams, as the first version, called 'Victory'. Represented in it, are two sportsmen carrying planet Earth, holding also the sentence FIFA World Cup. The cup was firstly presented during the 1974 Football World Cup, played in Germany.

It is made out of noble elements, containing 18 carats of 75% pure gold. As to its base, it has 13 centimeters diameter, composed of malachite, a mineral stone which is supposed to attract positive energy. There is also one single trophy which is placed back "at game" every year. The winning country holds only a replica, also in gold. The names of the winning countries are engraved in the trophy's base in English. So far, only 11 names are engraved in it. The trophy will probably be retired by FIFA when it becomes totally full. Some rumors refer the current trophy can change before the 2026 edition of the World Cup.

The Wrold Cup is an exceptional prize, that common man can't touch, not even with the tip of his fingers. Only the winners of the competition have such privilege. When it comes out on a tour, it is tracked closely: it's hidden under a black fabric during trips and it is always exhibited behind a glass. One of the signals of its invaluable asset: all betting agents offer specific chances to know who will rise the precious trophy in the competition.

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