2010 World Cup's Biggest Star Set To Madrid

In what may prove to be the biggest transfer story this summer, one of the World Cup's biggest star is set to move to Madrid. Negotiations have begun to bring Paul the psychic octopus to Madrid after he correctly predicted Spain's World Cup final victory.

Madrid's Zoo Aquarium says it is prepared to trump any other offer Germany's Oberhausen Sea Life Centre receives for Paul, certain that the world's most famous cephalopod will attract thousands of visitors. At present no cash is on the table, and the zoo says it is trying to negotiate an exchange of animals. Sounding more like the president of Real Madrid than a zookeeper, a spokesman said he was confident that Paul would be in Madrid within a few days. Madrid was prepared to offer Oberhausen "whatever they demand" to complete the deal — suggesting that this will be a cash-plus-animal transfer.

He added that Paul, named after a German children's book by Boy Lornsen, would be treated "with tender loving care" because of his national treasure status in Spain. Paul correctly predicted the outcome of all seven of Germany's World Cup matches, as well as the final between Spain and Holland.

However, Oberhausen officials have rejected the bid, claiming Paul is not for sale. "We are not in contact with Madrid Zoo. And we know nothing about swapping Paul for another animal or him going to Madrid Zoo for a transfer sum," Sea Life spokeswoman Tanja Munzig said. One Spanish businessman has already offered €38,000 to bring him to Spain, but he looks set to remain in Germany for the rest of his days.

During the World Cup, Paul became a media phenomenon, with his final predictions screened live on television. He also became the world's third most popular Twitter trend during the competition, out-doing both Shakira and Cristiano Ronaldo with 141 hours of trending. A Brazilian company has even developed an iPhone app based on Paul's performance, allowing users to consult the octopus to help them make decisions. The Ask the Octopus app lets users ask 50-50 questions, to which a cartoon of Paul chooses an answer.

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