Silvio Gazzaniga Sculptor
Born in Milan, in 1921, Silvio Gazzaniga is the artist who designed and created the FIFA World Cup Trophy after its predecessor, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was won outright by Brazil in 1970.
The artist describes his creation thus: "The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. The figures of two athletes rise from the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body at the stirring moment of victory."
The trophy is made of 18-carat solid gold, is 36.8cm high and weighs 6.175 kg. The base is adorned with two layers of semi-precious malachite, under which are engraved the names of all FIFA World Cup winners since 1974, and the year of their triumph. Gazzaniga himself is no neutral, however, and after Italy's dramatic, last-gasp victory over Australia, he told FIFAworldcup.com of his delight at the Azzurri's progress.
What did you think of the game?
The match was difficult, but at the end of the day luck was on our side. It went quite well in the end. I'd love Italy to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament. For me that would be the utmost. I'd just love to see it come back home. There's already a lot of Italy in that sculpture, but it would be very satisfying if the Azzurri were to win it again.
Which Italian players have impressed you most so far?
(Francesco) Totti and (Alessandro) Del Piero have been very good as always. (Marco) Materazzi has played well and of course he scored against the Czech Republic. (Gianluca) Zambrotta has also worked very hard. The overall level is very high at this tournament, with very little to choose between the teams. The athleticism and technique of all the teams has improved considerably. Obviously the best team is the one that goes on to win the tournament, but they'll have a fight on their hands. I don't think Brazil have been as good as they have in the past. I hope Italy reach the Final and they certainly have the ability to do so. Whatever happens, it won't be easy.
What does it mean for you when you hold the FIFA World Cup in your hands?
For me it means joy, but that feeling is even stronger for the players. They must earn the right on the pitch which means lots of hard work. I'm grateful to FIFA for having chosen my design from amongst all those submitted. I tried to keep the design as simple as possible without any unnecessary decoration. It's a trophy that symbolises strength, vitality and attainment, almost as if it weren't an inanimate object at all.
How do you feel when you see the winners lift the Trophy?
I'm always very excited. It's as if one of my children is being fêted. It's my baby and that makes me very proud. I've designed lots of other trophies for many different sports, but the World Cup is on a different level. Football is popular throughout the world and the tournament only takes place every four years. The prize on offer is the same each time and so is now laden with history as well. It's a great feeling to watch people fight tooth and nail to get their hands on something I created. Indeed, this is the personification of what I was trying to express in the design: the universal beauty of sport and the greatness of the athlete at the moment of victory.
Do you have a message for the team that will win this FIFA World Cup?
I can only congratulate them, they deserve it. Natural selection is very tough and undoubtedly they will have earned the honour to hold the prize. It will also be an honour for me to see them with the World Cup in their hands.
You were recently reunited with your creation when you undertook its restoration. What was your impression?
I have to say it had a few dents. Of course, I'm not surprised with all the people who've touched it and all the long journeys it's made. It looks new again now and is ready for the presentation.
Which club team do you support?
AC Milan! I was born and raised in Milan. I love the city because it gave me the opportunity to live in a vibrant artistic environment.