The Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) celebrated the end of the 2009 season by unveiling the first statue in the Baltic state to be dedicated exclusively to the game.
The LFF-commissioned statue – a sculpted representation of a teenaged footballer – made its debut outside the national football academy in the city of Kaunas, where it is intended to become a talisman for the young players who can touch the footballer's iconic boot before a match.
The final decision about the sculpture's design and location had been left to its creator, sculptor Dziugas Jurkunas, for whom the statue was a first sport-specific creation.
"Before starting to create the sculpture, I studied the history of Lithuanian football and was surprised to discover that the football roots here date back to the interwar period, when it was very popular among pilots," said Jurkunas. "Together with representatives of the federation, we decided that the statue must be of a teenager dressed in an old-fashioned football kit. Football came from the streets, where it is a very popular sport among teenagers, and that's why the statue is as it is."
After the unveiling ceremony and the inauguration of a new academy pitch, the 2009 domestic champions, FK Ekranas, received special prizes commemorating their successful defence of the A Lyga title.