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The Golden Sport of All Time – Football

28 November, 2022

28 November, 2022

Go, go, go…and GOAL! Every time we hear this, the very sport that pops in our mind is – Football. And why not? Arguably this is one of the most popular sports across the globe and has a huge fan base. Moreover, Football also enjoys the title of being the national sport of countries like Bahrain, Israel, Italy and more.

 

But what is it that makes this game so loved and a global favourite is a mystery, yet to be unearthed. So, let’s deep dive in this topic and get to know a lot more about Football.

 

FIFA World Cup 2022

 

The First Game

 

All Football fans assemble! We have a question for you – do you know when was the first Football match played? Any guesses? 1902, 1912 or let’s say post WW1. Sadly, all of these are wrong. Actually, the first documented game of (modern) Football was played in 1863 in England (Surprised? So are we.)

 

However, it is widely believed that Football was played well before this time. Infact, it is said that the earliest mentions of a similar game played can be found in some Chinese military manuals dated back to 2nd and 3rd centuries.

 

Football or Soccer – What’s correct?

 

One constant confusion – football or Football are they different? Popular belief say’s that since this game has roots in Britain, so Football is just an Americanism used to address the sport. Ironically, Football is an English term. However, countries like America, Canada, and a few more have adopted this name. On the other hand, several nations across the globe including Great Britain, use the common term football to denote this sport.

 

Winner takes the GOAL and GOLD too?

 

No sporting events, their competitions are complete without the winning team being awarded – THE TROPHY. Now, it is no shocker that these cups, trophies or boots (since, we are talking Football) are extremely special as they signify the sheer hard-work, dedication and undeniable win.

 

Hence to represent these, all the major leagues award precious metal awards to the winners – be it silver or gold. But, do you think all trophies are gold? Well, we thought the same! However, in reality, most trophies are made of sterling silver.

 

Trophies – The Pride and Shine

 

Even though, it looks like most Football trophies are made of silver, there are selected awards that are made of – the COVETED GOLD. Hence, it isn’t a surprise that the participating teams strive so hard to win the trophies. So, let’s have a look at these 4 ‘crème-de-la-crème’ trophies of all.

 

  1. The FIFA World Cup:

 

The most-renowned trophy in the Football universe is none other than the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) trophy, commonly referred to as ‘World Cup’. It is conferred to the absolute best team that carry the bulk of this title, worth its weight in gold (quite literally!).

 

At present, the trophy that we see was produced in 1971, designed by an Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga. It depicts figures of two athletes who are rising in spirals and stretching to receive the world.

This world cup trophy is actually made of 18K gold, although it is hollow inside – so that it doesn’t become too heavy to carry around. The current trophy weighs somewhere around 6.17kgs and has the base decorated in malachite, a beautiful green gem.

 

This world cup is a replacement for the 1930’s Jules Rimet Cup (originally called Victory Cup) that was made using gold-plated sterling silver. In 1970, this cup was awarded outright to Brazil after they won the tournament for the third time.

Interestingly, it was stolen before the 1966 competition in England and found by a dog named pickles. Later it was again stolen from the Brazilian football federation where it was kept for display in 1983 to never be found!

 

  1. The Golden Boot:

 

The Golden Boot (or Golden Shoe) is an award given only to the player with the highest goal count across Europe’s best teams every season.

L'Equipe, a French football magazine first introduced this award in 1967-68, naming it Soulier d'Or (translated to Golden Shoe). But since the 1996-97 season, the European Sports Media is shouldering the responsibility of giving this award.

 

Winning this eye-catching shoe dipped in gold, is a dream come true of all European Football players. But, the pertinent question here is – is this Golden Boot truly made of pure gold? Well, there is no clear answer to this.

However, the most popular idea is that this boot-shaped award is made of brass alloy and electroplated with gold!

 

  1. Ballon d'Or:

 

An award given to the world’s best player depending on the achievements and performance for that (specific) calendar year.

An esteemed French football magazine started awarding it in 1956 and has been consistently given it out except in 2020 (the COVID year). This beautiful orb award is produced by the famed jeweller, ‘Mellerio dits Meller’.

 

As shared by the makers of this award, it is a very detailed and engrossing process that necessitates several skilled experts to work together. It involves two brass hemispheres welded together and then lines are traced on it.

Then the designed ball is submerged into melted 18K gold. Post this, the ‘Golden Ball’ trophy is ready to be awarded. (Interesting, isn’t it?)

 

  1. The Premier League Cup:

 

All Football fans will be wondering why would ‘The Premier League Cup’ be mentioned in this list. For the uninitiated – this trophy’s main body is made of solid silver whereas only the crown is made of 24-carat silver gilt (has a gold finish, as silver undergoes several processes).

So back to the question, why is the trophy mentioned here? Well, because in all the years this award has been given only once was it made in gold! (Yes! It’s true!)

 

This happened in the 2003-04 season when Arsenal (the leading Football team) achieved the unthinkable. These champions, actually, completed the entire season without losing even a single match (imagine that feat!). As a result, they have bestowed the title of ‘Invincibles’ and given a glided golden version of the Premier League Cup.

 

After knowing all this, it would be apt if Football (or football) would be named the Golden Sport of the World, wouldn’t

 

G.O.A.T.s: The new word coined is Greatest Of All Times. And we have Lionel Messi of Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, and Brazils Neymar playing probably their last world cups.

 

Can they go in the books of history as immortal legends by bringing the GOLDEN Cup, Winner’s cup home? 

Let’s wait till Dec 20th as more than 6 billion eyes are glued at this magnificent event of World Cup soccer. 

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