Octopus Oracle Paul to Retire After Perfect Predictions

No more World Cup, no more octopus oracle.

Paul, the octopus who became a pop culture sensation by correctly predicting the outcome of as many World Cup matches as he has legs — all seven of Germany’s games plus the Spain-Netherlands final — is going to retire.

The intuitive invertebrate will “step back from the official oracle business,” Tanja Munzig, a spokeswoman for the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, told AP Television News.

“He won’t give any more oracle predictions — either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy,” she said. “Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh.”

However, Paul took one last curtain call on Monday. Aquarium employees presented the octopus with a golden cup — similar to the official World Cup trophy.

Although the cup was garnished with three mussels, Paul ignored it for several minutes as it was lowered into his tank.

He finally picked off one mussel and devoured it in front of television cameras.

Paul won worldwide attention as he called all of Germany’s games correctly — including its semifinal defeat by Spain. He crowned his career by forecasting correctly that Spain would beat Holland in Sunday’s final. 

Since Paul is an international celebrity of the highest order now, everyone wants a piece of him – both literally and figuratively. Italy is trying to claim that he was caught in Italian waters, Spanish businessmen are trying to buy him for €30,000 ($38,000), and Dutch priests tried to dismiss him.

But in Spain, Paul is an icon. The Spanish prime minister has already spoken of his desire to protect “Pulpo Paul” and the mock up of a new version of Spain’s flag could be dangerously close to becoming real.

So what becomes of Paul now? Well, he’ll probably continue to live out the remainder of his days at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, no longer forced to pick his food out of flag-covered boxes while surrounded by an obscene number of media types. He will swim at his leisure and continue to be oblivious to the existence of sports. He will retire a winner and a global sensation – what every other octopus (and even a few pundits) wishes they could be. 

(AP contributed to this report.)

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