OBERHAUSEN, GERMANY- In a surprise move, Paul, the Psychic Octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of all of Germany’s 2010 World Cup matches as well as the World Cup final, has announced his decision to retire from professional predicting.  In an eloquent speech that was chosen from two possible speeches placed on the front of mussel-filled boxes, Paul informed the world of his decision.

“It was a hard choice,” Paul said, “but it seemed the appropriate thing to do.  A great player has to retire on top.  One bad move and I could be forgotten forever.  One wrong decision and I could end up somewhere shitty, like on some guy’s dinner plate in South Beach.  I didn’t want to risk the respect that people have for me to chase some greedy pipedream.”

Though most people are disappointed with Paul’s decision to retire, saddened by the prospect of filling out their own March Madness brackets, one individual is actually pleased with the octopus’ decision to step down.

“Paul’s retirement will finally give me a chance to shine,” said Mani the Parakeet, whose incorrect choice in the World Cup final has rendered him nearly forgotten. “The world will be looking for the next big psychic animal to help them bet on sports matches.  I may have let them down last time, but I’ve been practicing the channeling of my psychic abilities and I’m confident that I’ll never make another mistake.”

When asked to predict what Paul the Octopus would do next, Mani replied, “Well, Brad Childress from the Minnesota Vikings has been asking Paul to return to professional predicting so that he can tell the team whether or not they’ll win the Super Bowl.  I predict that Paul will probably waffle around for a bit, but he’ll unquestionably return to predicting next season.  Paul is just addicted to the sport.  That’s all there is to it.”

Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.  But until then, Paul will be sorely missed from the world of sports.

RECENT UPDATE: Folks, Mani the Parakeet was wrong again.  Paul has just announced that he is going to pursue a career in baseball with the White Sox, and has hinted that if he’s very poor at the sport he may return to predicting.

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