Armadillo! World Cup mascot for Brazil 2014 unveiled by Ronaldo
08:20 GMT, 17 September 2012
The mascot for the 2014 World Cup is a yet-to-be-named Brazilian endangered armadillo.
FIFA say Brazil have until mid-November to choose the mascot's name from three choices – Amijubi, Fuleco and Zuzeco. The mascot's announcement was made on Sunday on a television show with the participation of former Brazil star Ronaldo.
'I'm delighted to welcome such an important member to the 2014 team,' Ronaldo said. 'The mascot will play a key ambassadorial role in the next two years. I'm sure he will inspire many young football fans in Brazil and all over the world with the great passion which he has for the sport and for his country.'
Unveiled: The armadillo that will be the official mascot for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
The three-banded armadillo, which is in danger of extinction, rolls up into the shape of a ball when threatened and is commonly found in northeastern Brazil.
The mascot carries the colours of the Brazilian flag. It is yellow, with green shorts and a blue shell and tail. It is dressed in a white shirt with the words 'Brazil 2014' written on it.
'The fact that the three-banded armadillo is a vulnerable species is very fitting,' FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in a statement. 'One of the key objectives through the 2014 FIFA World Cup is to use the event as a platform to communicate the importance of the environment and ecology.'
FIFA say Amijubi is a 'representation of friendliness and joy,' while Fuleco and Zuzeco are linked to an 'ecological message.'
Football's governing body said the three options were picked 'after a vote by a high-profile judging committee' in Brazil, including former Ronaldo team-mate Bebeto.
Star turn: Ronaldo – winner of the World Cup in 2002 – welcomed 'an important member of the team'
The mascot of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was a leopard, an animal commonly found in that country. It was yellow and green – the South African colours – and was called Zakumi. In 2006 in Germany, the mascot was a lion called Goleo.
The first time a mascot was introduced at the World Cup was in 1966 in England – a lion dressed in the Union Jack named 'World Cup Willie'.
Other World Cup mascots included a boy called Juanito in Mexico in 1970, an orange named Naranjito in Spain in 1982, a dog called Striker in the United States in 1994 and a rooster named Footix in France in 1998.
The old and the new: Pioneering World Cup Willie (left) and South African mascot Zakumi (right)
FIFA also recently announced that the World Cup ball will be called 'Brazuca,' an informal word often used to describe national pride. Adidas, the official World Cup ball supplier, say Brazilians voted on the name which 'symbolizes emotion, pride and goodwill to all,' mirroring Brazil's 'approach to football.'
'Brazuca' is also often used as the nickname given to Brazilians living outside the country, including the hundreds of footballers playing abroad.
Brazil are hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950.