The FIFA World Cup Trophy has returned to land of its origin and the home of the reigning champions. Gianluigi Buffon, a champion in 2006, and 1982 winner Bruno Conti were on hand on Sunday when the original solid-gold Trophy arrived, this time at Fiumicino airport, for the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola.
A total of 10,000 free tickets were available through local Coca-Cola promotions, with excited children among the first to see the Trophy close up. And confidence reigned. “The Cup will come back to Italy in July,” said 11-year old Marco. “La Nazionale are going to win the World Cup. We trust them!”
Buffon, who will be part of the squad aiming to retain the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, shared this youngster’s positive attitude. “Italy has a good chance of winning the World Cup because of the expertise and high international calibre gracing the squad,” he said. “We have many experienced players. Nobody thought we’d win the World Cup in Germany. We didn’t set targets, we just thought about going through the first round and took it from there.”
During the Trophy’s stop in Rome, the Azzurri No1 took the opportunity to say farewell – for the moment, he hopes - with a sincere kiss. “In any event it always makes me emotional to see this Trophy,” he said. “To win and hold it, it’s like showing to the world the thing that you love most at that moment in time, whether it is your child or your mother, or whatever it might be.”
The opportunity to raise the Trophy again also thrilled Conti, a hero of Italy’s Spain 1982 triumph. “Everyone wants to have the FIFA World Cup Trophy, but to win it is difficult,” he said. “This priceless icon is not for everybody. But when I touched the trophy again I realised how the years have passed.”
Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent, meanwhile, took the chance to enjoy a rare close-up view of the most coveted prize in world sport. And as he said: “The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is helping ensure that fans have the chance to experience the excitement of football no matter where they live.”