Fuleco is a fun and friendly armadillo, a mascot that loves the environment…
At World Cup 2014, Fuleco the armadillo will be bringing us fun, a taste of Brazilian culture and an environmental message. His name, chosen by 48 per cent of the 1.7 million Brazilian fans who voted in a poll, represents a combination of the words football (futebol) and ecology (ecologia). He has his own website ( mascot.fifa.com ) and social media presence on Twitter (@2014fuleco ) and Facebook ( facebook.com/2014fuleco ). He even has a birthday, 1 January 2000.
“On top of my ambition to unite the world through football, my life is dedicated to protecting Brazil’s spectacular nature and to preserve it for the next generation,” states Fuleco, on his official site. “The ‘vulnerable’ (and previously ‘endangered’) status of my species makes me very aware of this need and I set an example to others so that Brazil’s natural beauty can be respected and protected for the future. “My innovative defence mechanism, my diverse ancestry, my passion for football and my love of life all convey an important message; that we must take care of Brazil’s majestic environment. Join me on my mission!”
Cheerful and considerate
Fuleco is also portrayed as a fun-loving, friendly character who celebrates scoring goals with the ‘armadillo roll’. The combination of a cheerful and engaging personality, along with considerate environmental messages, will be a hit with fans across the planet. FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil says: “Not only is he well known and recognised by the vast majority of Brazilians, he also seems to have built up a rapport with football fans and is a popular figure, even gaining his own affectionate nickname ‘tatu-bola’. He is fast becoming the most successful FIFA World Cup mascot of all time.”
Some previous World Cup mascots
The first mascot used at a FIFA tournament was in 1966 in England when World Cup Willie was created. He was a bold lion wearing a Union Flag jersey chosen to symbolise the host nation’s history and tradition.
Juanito, a boy wearing a Mexico strip and oversized sombrero, was the 1970 tournament’s mascot. Four years later two more young characters, Tip and Tap, wearing West Germany kits were the mascots.
That theme continued with Gauchito, another boy, this time in Argentina’s colours, with a hat, neckerchief and whip representing the gauchos or cowboys of South America in 1978. In Spain in 1982 officials dressed up an orange in the country’s national team kit and named him Naranjito.