Attending a special ceremony at the headquarters of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in Madrid on Monday 15 November, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter presented the Spanish national football team with the FIFA World Champions Badge in recognition of their triumph at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The members of the victorious 23-man squad received a standing ovation from the audience, which included more than 400 former Spain internationals and a host of other celebrities and dignitaries. Among the many famous faces present at the event were Luis Suarez and Alfredo Di Stefano, two of the greats of Spanish football.
“This Badge is not a gift but a responsibility,” said the FIFA President. “Football is a very important part of our society and it needs great players like these, who set such a good example. This Spain team will play an active role in promoting the most upstanding values of the game of football, which is a hugely important tool that can play a vital social and cultural role in the world today.”
Badge of honour
As well as paying tribute to the players who have sported the red of Spain with honour over the years, Angel Maria Villar, the President of the RFEF, had this to say: “In South Africa we finally achieved a goal we have been pursuing since 1930. We reached a summit scaled by only seven other teams, which goes to show how difficult a task it is.
"Today we take receipt of this badge, which the players will wear with grace and distinction. The FIFA World Champions Badge is one we will wear with a great sense of happiness and pride, and it will be very close to our hearts.”
The heroes of South Africa then paid homage to their predecessors by awarding a plaque to Di Stefano, the President of the Association of Former International Footballers (AEFI), in recognition of the contribution they have made to the history of the Spanish national team.
“It was a truly magnificent success for Spain, a country that lives and breathes football,” said the legendary ex-striker. “We are all so happy and would like to thank you for your achievement.”
After the speeches were over players past and present gathered for an impressive group photo in which the FIFA World Cup Trophy provided the sparkling centrepiece. The recently crowned world champions then pulled on the new shirt that they will wear for the first time in Wednesday’s friendly against Portugal, a shirt that features a gold star above the Spain badge on the left, and the FIFA World Champions Badge on the right.
“This star is a great responsibility for us and we’ll wear it with great pride for the next four years,” said forward David Villa.
Prior to the ceremony Blatter took the opportunity to visit the RFEF’s Museum of Football, which will shortly be opening its doors to the public. Accompanied by Villar and Pablo Ornaque, one of the driving forces behind the creation of the museum and its leading donor, the FIFA President was able to chart the history of La Roja from their early days and admire one of the star exhibits: a ball used in the inaugural FIFA World Cup finals in Uruguay in 1930.
Also on display are shirts belonging to some illustrious names from the game’s past, the boots with which some famous goals have been scored, and the three major pieces of silverware Spain have now won: the 1964 and 2008 European Championship trophies and the FIFA World Cup Trophy.