Russia have unveiled their mascot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup – Zabivaka the wolf. Zabivaka, whose name means “the one who scores” in Russian is described as “charming, confident and social” and has “always dreamt of becoming a football star”, received 53% of the one million votes in a Fifa poll, beating competition from a tiger who got 27% and cat which collected 20%. He was developed by student designer Ekaterina Bocharova.
“I am sure Zabivaka will be a massive hit among fans at the Confederations Cup in 2017 and 2018 World Cup,” said Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko.
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo was in attendance at the ceremony in Moscow and he was suitably impressed.
“Mascots are great ambassadors for promoting the event and bring so much joy to the stadiums,” he said. “I can see it happening already in Russia with Zabivaka just by seeing him on stage tonight. He will surely be remembered for a very long time by football fans all over the world.”
World Cup 2018 Mascot Key characteristics:
- He is charming, confident and social and has always dreamt of becoming a football star.
- His favourite sporting pastime is playing football. He is a fair player, values his team members and respects his opponents, and he plays with skill and purpose.
- He is always fun to be around – as the joker in the pack, he knows how to make others laugh.
- He has taken to wearing cool sports glasses when he’s in action; he believes they give him special targeting powers on the pitch. And he loves to pose for photos!