Photo Gallery: Spain Celebrates Paul the Octopus
Pulpo Perfecto Paul to Become Honorary Citizen of Spanish Town
Paul, Germany's world famous octopus oracle, may be in line for honorary citizenship of a Spanish town after correctly tipping Spain to win the World Cup.
The city council of Carballiño, a town of 14,000 in northwestern Spain, unanimously voted to name the octopus an honorary citizen after he correctly predicted Spain's victory over Holland in Sunday's final as well as the team's victory over Germany in the semifinal . Paul also correctly predicted the winner of all seven of Germany's World Cup matches.
Carballiño Mayor Carlos Montes intends to travel to Paul's home at the Sea Life public aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen to present the soothsaying cephalopod with the honor. The prize is said to be a transparent cube adorned with the town's crest, similar to the mussel-baited cubes Paul used to make his picks.
Montes will also attempt to negotiate a one-day loan for "Pulpo Paul" to attend a local food festival. Carballiño's specialty: paprika-spiced octopus in olive oil.
"The Germans need not worry, we do not want to eat Paul," said Manuel Pazos, who runs a fish factory in Carballiño, according to the German news agency dpa. Pazos made headlines last week when he offered to buy Paul from Sea Life for €30,000 ($38,121) after Spain beat Germany on July 7. Following Spain's 1-0 extra-time defeat of the Netherlands on Sunday, Pazos upped the offer by €5,000.
Viva el Pablo
The Spanish national team has even latched onto the Oracle of Oberhausen. During Monday's victory parade through downtown Madrid, captain and star goalkeeper Iker Casillas raised a cardboard cutout of Paul in the national colors of red and yellow, perhaps signaling that Spanish victory was preordained.
And in a salute to his good fortune, Andrés Iniesta, who scored the winner against the Netherlands, waved a spongy effigy of Paul as he addressed fans in Madrid.
"Thanks is due to Paul the octopus," Iniesta said, according to Berlin tabloid B.Z. "Because of him we're world champions."
Iniesta concluded: "What should I say? We won. Octopi should be more popular in Spain."
Eight-Armed Money Maker
Bettors too started taking Paul seriously after he correctly predicted Spain's victory over Germany.
"I've seen a lot of things in my lifetime, but this is the first time I've ever seen people making their picks based on what an octopus tells them," Graham Sharpe, spokesman for English betting house William Hill, told Reuters.
"We had people coming in saying they didn't know how to place a bet but heard about this German octopus and wanted to bet with him," Sharpe said. "It's ludicrous. But he kept getting it right. It's one of the finest tipping feats ever."
Savvy gamblers may have needed all eight of Paul's arms to rake in the dough. Sharpe estimated that William Hill paid out about £100,000 ($152,600) on bets based on Paul's predictions. He said that a £10 accumulator bet -- one that reinvested winnings in further bets on Paul's picks -- would have generated winnings of £3,000 pounds by the end of the World Cup.
Sharpe was originally less than sanguine about Paul's predictive powers: "Anyone who takes it seriously should consider taking up diving and living with Paul's family," Sharpe told SPIEGEL ONLINE shortly before Paul was set to make his Germany vs. Spain semifinal pick on July 6.
Paul Won't Push His Luck
While some have called for Paul to help solve the euro crisis and set governmental policy , it appears that his time as an oracle is finished.
"We've had a lot of offers for Paul, but he will definitely be staying with us and returning to his old job -- making children smile," Sea Life spokeswoman Tanja Munzig told Reuters this week after Paul was feted with a replica of the World Cup trophy garnished with mussels.
The two-and-half-year-old octopus is already in the twilight of his life as octopi do not live more than a handful of years.