Zabivaka the wolf followed in the footsteps of Naranjito the orange, Footix the football-playing rooster and Fuleco the armadillo by being named as the official mascot of the 2018 World Cup on Saturday.
FIFA described its latest creation, unveiled during a live television show in the presence of Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko and former Brazil striker Ronaldo, as “a wolf who radiates fun, charm and confidence”.
The wolf, whose name according to FIFA means “the one who scores”, received 53 per cent of the more than one million votes cast in a poll, beating a tiger (27 percent) and a cat (20 percent).
Mutko was named as deputy prime minister for sports, tourism and youth policy on Wednesday, an effective promotion from his previous governmental role as sports minister. On Thursday, he said he may step down as RFU president.
Other mascots over the years have included ‘Zakumi’ the leopard from South Africa 2010, ‘Pique’ the chilli pepper from Mexico 1986, a lion named ‘World Cup Willie’ from England in 1966 and “Gauchito” from Argentina in 1978.
Naranjito was Spain’s mascot in 1982 and Footix represented France in 1998.