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Friday, August 20, 2010

Paul the octopus supports England bid, is honored with golden idol

It's been more than a month since Spain won the World Cup and Paul the octopus won the hearts of the human world (except the Dutch) by perfectly predicting the winners of Germany's seven matches and Spain's victory in the final. But his fame and influence are apparently holding strong as he nears the end of his life expectancy.

With starring roles in Chinese movies, book deals, and a line of merchandise all in the works, Paul's German handlers are cashing in on his stardom and giving the proceeds to charity. Paul isn't just working for the Germans, though. He's also been hired to support the country in which he was first hatched, England, as they bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Competing against Russia, the U.S. (who are more likely to get the 2022 World Cup), Australia, and joint bids from Spain and Portugal, and Holland and Belgium, England brought on Paul to be the big gun in their arsenal of celebrity supporters that also includes David Beckham, Sting and Oasis' Noel Gallagher.

From the AFP:

"Paul has spent the last two years of his life in Germany, but he is definitely a proud Englishman and is therefore delighted to put his support behind England 2018," said Nicola Hamilton, manager at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre in southern England, where Paul was born.

"We have had a number of football approaches from around the world but Paul was only ever going to choose his homeland."

...unless the others offered a more delicious looking mussel for him to choose.

While you may rightfully doubt just how capable of being a "proud Englishman" Paul is, another member of the England bid team has high hopes for the octopus' influence (via HuffPo):

"Paul the Octopus is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in football," former England winger John Barnes said [thoroughly depressing millions of humans who have devoted their lives to the sport --Ed.]. "Huge numbers of people will follow Paul's lead and back the bid."

And just in case you were doubting Paul's idol status, at India International Jewelry Show on Friday, a likeness of Paul made of 3.3 kilograms (7.3 lbs) of solid gold was unveiled. It's valued at exactly $133,404. I'm sure Paul would be pleased if he were capable of such a feeling.

Photos: Getty Images

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