A new star is born every World Cup.
In Russia it will be Harry Maguire, who’ll put his massive head to use by either scoring the winning goal in the final or accidentally headbutting Vladimir Putin during a state visit.
Brazil 2014 was all about James Rodriguez, the suave Colombian with a fondness for collecting giant bugs during games.
The 2010 World Cup belonged to Paul the Octopus, the most legendary sea-dweller since the Loch Ness Monster.
While most of his peers were being fried up and served as calamari, Paul was taking the tipping world by storm.
The Weymouth wetter’s work had gone under the radar at the 2008 European Championships, where he tipped four correct results from six games.
Our eight-legged friend might have felt the pressure of living up to a 66.6666667 success rate- worthy of a betting column in any paper he desired if only he could hold a pen properly.
Not a chance.
Paul called 7/7 games correctly at the 2010 World Cup which, as the mathletes amongst you will know, is a 100% strike rate.
But, as with any success story, there were haters.
After Paul correctly tipped Germany to beat Argentina in the quarter-finals an Argentine chef threatened to eat him.
Can you imagine if he’d threatened to cook Paul Merson after a successful tip on Soccer Saturday? There would have been outrage.
The Germans followed suit when Paul, again correctly, tipped Spain to knock them out in the semi-final.
This prompted Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapater to offer state protection. Finally, people were realising just how important this national treasure was.
Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, described Paul as the symbol of Western decadence and decay.
If that’s what decay looks like then leave me in a fruit bowl and call me rotten.
With nothing left to prove Paul settled into a life of gorging himself silly on crustaceans.
Then, three months after the final, Paul’s agent broke the news we’d all been dreading.
Paul had, in his words, ‘left this mortal world’ and passed away peacefully.
Thanks for the memories, Paul. We’ll be thinking of you next time we rashly lose £50 on a dead cert bet.