Rome, July 14: The World Cup trophy has been in Italy’s hands for only a few days but it appears already to have been broken.
A picture on the front page of the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero showed Fabio Cannavaro, Italy’s captain, staring at the trophy in dismay and then holding up what appears to be a piece of green malachite that has broken off its base.
Cannavaro was sitting on the Italian team bus on his way to visit Gianluca Pessotto, the former Juventus player who is in hospital in Turin after falling from the roof of the club’s offices during the tournament.
The piece may have come off the trophy on the bus but, according to Il Messaggero, was later glued on.
Cannavaro admitted that he slept with the trophy on the night of winning the final against France.
The trophy was created by Silvio Gazzaniga, an Italian artist, for the 1974 World Cup.
It shows two athletes spiralling out from the base to hold the world in their hands.
The trophy is 14 inches high and made of 18 carat gold. There are two layers of malachite on the base, which has room for 17 plaques to display the names of the winners. The trophy is not due to be replaced until at least 2038, when the plaques run out.