Bolt Turns Down Malta Approach – For Now
Jamaican icon staying Down Under in bid to win football contract
Usain Bolt, the wannabe professional footballer, has turned down a lucrative two-year deal from Maltese champions Valletta FC to stay in Australia.
The 32-year-old, on trial with A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners since August, is determined to try to win a contract with the club.
Yet the fastest man to ever set foot on the planet, having retired from a glittering career in athletics last year, was approached by Abu Dhabi-rollbanked Valletta FC this week to ply his trade on the tiny island of Malta.
The eight-time Olympic champion could have been enticed by the opportunity of competing in next year’s Champions League with Valletta FC, but has declined their offer.
Bolt bagged a brace in a recent pre-season friendly for Mariners, but a decision as to whether he will be offered a contract by the club remains in the balance with a decision due in December or January.
However, it has been suggested that the Malta approach was merely a publicity stunt for Valletta FC and to force the hand of Mariners to sign Bolt. His marketable value off the pitch far exceeds his value on the pitch despite his incredible pace. The two factors holding back a contract offer are his lack of technical ability and his financial demands.
Ricky Simms, Bolt’s agent whilst he is in Australia, stated: “Usain does not wish to pursue this Malta opportunity.
“There is a lot of interest in Usain playing football, we regularly receive similar approaches.”
Valletta FC chief executive Ghasston Slimen is aware that if the Jamaican superstar doesn’t win a contract Down Under, then he could be coaxed to the Mediterranean island to pursue his dream of playing top-flight football.
He said: “We wish Usain Bolt all the best with his football career. The Valletta FC offer is always on the table.”
The Mariners are believed to be waiting for Football Federation Australia to decide whether it will contribute to a potential and highly lucrative contract to sign Bolt.
But Mariners head coach Mike Mulvey is trying to distance himself from these negotiations and is concentrating on his side kicking off their season against Brisbane Roar this Sunday.
He explained about the approach for Bolt from Valletta FC: “I haven’t been involved in all that, I’m really not interested in it to tell you the truth. I’m interested in the players I’ve got in my squad, who I’m very happy with.”
But he was quite dismissive about Bolt and added: “He’s been great among the guys and I was happy for him last week with the two goals he scored, but we move on.”
Bolt won’t be moving on quite yet, but at least has a back-up plan with Valletta FC should the Mariners contract fail to materialise.
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