By Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 15 -- FIFA season is finally over, and I can't believe how the past few football weeks have gone by. I'm so disappointed that my favorite teams - Argentina and England - didn't qualify. But, I have to admit that Spain played like winners all the way. I am upset that the most anticipated season of the year is now over but, I'm also happy that I have yet another season to look forward to.
I was a national level football player in school and college, and would eageryly await FIFA season (maybe a little more than cricket) and wanted to watch every match. But, of course, I was limited by the "you-have-to-wake-up-early-for-school-tomorrow" spiel. But, for the last few years, I have enjoyed unadulterated football pleasure. This year was no different. Inspite of my shoot schedule in Malaysia, I somehow managed to catch the matches after pack-up.
This was clearly the season of the unexpected. Right from the first-time winner Spain to the rise of the FIFA Oracle - Paul the Octopus. His final predictions were eagerly awaited not only by football lovers, but also by the players of Spain and the Netherlands. All of Paul's predictions during the World Cup have been true, bestowing international fame on the 'psychic' sea creature. Paul has become a celebrity in his own right. Now, that's some competition. Haha!
A living legend, his life is starting to follow the media life cycle that any superstar goes through: discovery - fame - controversy - scrutiny - resurrection - rediscovery... Every newspaper and news channel talks more about Paul than the game itself. Non football followers don't necessarily know the players (except Messi, Ronaldo and Beckham of course) but everyone knows Paul. The Paul phenomenon has truly taken the world by storm.
I am amazed at how strong his appeal is and how Paul is now the world's new 'it' guy! Maybe soon we'll see him make public appearances and also a few endorsements...who knows! Way to go Paul!!!