Match-predicting octopus retires

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England’s second great World Cup success is to retire at the top of his game. Paul the Octopus, a common octopus who was born in Weymouth but now lives at the Oberhausen aquarium in western Germany, will not forecast any more football results, his keepers said, after the eight-legged oracle correctly chose the winners of eight games at the World Cup, including the victors of Sunday night’s final, Spain.

The celebrity cephalopod’s predictions have been broadcast live around the world during the tournament: before each game, aquarium staff offered Paul two clear boxes containing a mussel, each with a flag painted on the lid. Whichever one he opened was declared his prediction.

He received death threats from fans of losing teams, who said they would turn him into paella – leading to an offer of asylum from the Spanish prime minister, Jose Zapatero.

“He won't give any more oracle predictions – either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy," said a spokesman for the aquarium. "He has nine brains - one in his body and one in each of his tentacles - so he likes to play games and have challenges."

Rather than the traditional carriage clock, he was presented with a retirement gift of a gold replica World Cup trophy and three mussels.

Paul is two-and-a-half years old and is not expected to survive to see the 2012 European Championships.