Winning a coveted professional football competition is a rare opportunity that few get to experience. Many players spend their entire lives striving for a trophy that they may never receive.
As Trophy Outlet put it, “Trophies and awards are a point of pride for many competitors”. A trophy represents years and years of dedication to the sport. With that in mind, you realize just how much is on the line when you watch major global competitions.
Here are five of the most memorable football trophies ever.
5. Copa Libertadores
Football is huge in South America. The Copa Libertadores is the South American counterpart to the Champions League, and it’s the most desirable trophy in South American football.
While this is a South American event, the final is broadcast in a staggering 135 countries all over the world, according to Bleacher Report.
The original trophy was first crafted in 1959, and it went through various changes throughout the years. In 2004, the original trophy shattered when it fell from a player’s hands. It was repaired with minor alterations, and in 2009 it was renovated to better organise new badges.
4. Copa America
As the oldest ongoing continental football competition, the Copa America trophy is rooted in history.
First held in 1916 in Argentina to celebrate the first century of the country’s independence, today’s competitions usually include teams from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) teams, as well as teams from the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
The current Copa America trophy was purchased from a jewelry shop in Buenos Aires called “Casa Escasany” for 3,000 Swiss francs in 1916.
In April of 2016, a new trophy was designed for the 100th anniversary of the Copa America – the Copa América Centenario. This stunning trophy (pictured left) stands two feet tall, weighs almost 16 pounds, and is covered in 24-karat gold, according to Major League Soccer (MLS).
3. UEFA European Championship
European football is known for its dedicated fans and competitive nature. First held in France in 1958, the European Championship has become one of the most widely anticipated sports events in the world.
The original trophy – the Henri Delaunay Trophy – was named in honor of the first General Secretary of UEFA who came up with the idea of a European Championship but passed away before it came to be.
In 2008, the trophy was remodeled to match the splendor and size of the UEFA’s other world-famous trophies. The remodeled trophy is crafted from sterling silver, and it stands two feet tall and weighs 18 pounds.
The marble base was replaced with a larger silver one, and the names of the winning teams are now carved on the back of the trophy, rather than on the base where they used to be.
2. UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League is arguably the most prestigious sporting event in the world, and undeniably the most prestigious in European football.
As European football grew in popularity, the UEFA’s visibility also increased.
Today, the Champions League event is a massive competition that boasts a level of play that is truly unparalleled, and it has allowed Europe to become the wealthiest continent in the world of professional football.
The current European Champion Clubs’ Cup (pictured below) has been awarded since 1967.
Although the UEFA retains the original trophy, winning the trophy three years in a row or winning it five times total gives the victors the right to own a full-sized replica.
1. The FIFA World Cup
The World Cup is the most iconic and well-known football competition – period. There’s no greater honour in professional football than lifting that trophy over your head, knowing that your team is the best in the world.
The event occurs every four years. During the three years prior, teams participate in a qualifying tournament phase called the World Cup Finals.
From 1930 until 1970, the World Cup was a gold trophy called the Jules Rimet Trophy. Since 1974, the award has been presented as the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
FIFA commissioned the new trophy in 1974, and received submissions from 53 sculptors representing seven different countries, with Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga eventually winning the honor of designing the trophy.
In Gazzaniga’s own words, “The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory”.
Brandon Watt is a sports writer from Austin, TX who especially enjoys following international football. When he’s not watching or writing about sports, Brandon enjoys working out, collecting sports memorabilia, and spending time with friends and family.