In the 2018 FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia, 32 soccer teams with some of the world’s highest paid athletes will be vying for an esteemed prize: the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
The World Cup trophy, specially created by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga, is worth an estimated $20 million, according to USA Today.
First designed and crafted by Gazzaniga in 1974, the same trophy is awarded to the FIFA World Cup winning team every four years.
The trophy, which stands about 14.5 inches tall, is made of 13.5 pounds of 18-carat gold and resembles two athletes raising their arms up in victory while holding up the world. At the end of the World Cup final match, the trophy is presented to the winning team, which then gets its country name engraved on the trophy’s base.
FIFA actually first awarded winners the Jules Rimet Cup in 1946, named after the World Cup founder. But following a series of tumultuous events, in which the trophy was hidden during World War II, stolen in England, permanently given to Brazil and stolen again in 1983, FIFA commissioned a new World Cup Trophy — the one that exists today.
Given how many people handle the trophy after each final match, Italian company GDE Bertoni restores the trophy before it gets returned to FIFA for the next World Cup. At that point, the previous winning team members receive a gold-plated replica.
Brazil is currently the team with the most FIFA World Cup victories, holding five championship wins, and is immediately followed by Italy and Germany with four wins to their names.
Photo credits: Ian MacNicol | Getty Images