Ronaldo unveils armadillo as 2014 World Cup mascot
Brazil legend Ronaldo has unveiled the official mascot for the 2014 World Cup as an indigenous armadillo.
World Cup organisers launched the mascot as part of Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo’s weekly Fantástico entertainment show on Sunday.
Former Real Madrid and Inter striker Ronaldo, who is a member of the organising committee’s management board, welcomed the mascot, who will be named Amijubi, Fuleco or Zuzeco after a public vote.
Ronaldo said: "I’m delighted to welcome such an important member to the 2014 team.
"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."
The mascot has been making a number of unofficial visits all over Brazil, according to FIFA, including the distribution of 2014 blue balls on the Boa Viagem beach in Recife, introductions to Brazilian football fans during several live football broadcasts, and a meeting with his new friend Ronaldo in São Paulo.
The endangered three-banded armadillo, called the Tolypeutes tricinctus, rolls up into the shape of a ball when threatened and is commonly found in north-eastern Brazil.
FIFA secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, said: "The fact that the three-banded armadillo is a vulnerable species is very fitting.
"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.
"We are glad to be able to do so with the help of a mascot who I’m sure will be much-loved, not only in Brazil, but all over the world."
The mascot of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was a leopard, an animal commonly found in that country, called Zakumi and in 2006, the mascot in Germany was a lion called Goleo.
FIFA also recently announced that the World Cup ball, supplied by Adidas, will be called 'Brazuca’, which is an informal word often used to describe national pride in Brazil.
Brazil are hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950, with the tournament scheduled to take place from June 12 to July 13 2014.