Jamaican icon admits his sports life is over
Usain Bolt, the Jamaican eight-time Olympic champion, has given his dream of becoming a professional footballer the boot.
The 32-year-old gave it a shot, but in the end was unable to prove himself in the top flight after a string of failed trials across the world.
Before Christmas there was the possibility that he would join Maradona in Mexico. But Dorados narrowly missed out on promotion from the 2nd Division, and Bolt refused to play ball unless he was in the spotlight at the highest level of club football.
Also the fact that Bolt demanded a lucrative deal to compete, despite having no track record of success as a footballer, was always going to be a major hurdle across the globe.
Advanced talks had been in place with Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot, who sponsor both Bolt and Argentina legend Maradona, to subsidise his salary in Mexico. But unless the side were competing in the top division there would be little benefit for Hublot.
Originally it was through his Puma sponsorship that Bolt even entertained playing football.
One of the Puma directors had connections with top German side Borussia Dortmund, so for publicity purposes he undertook trials.
With the taste for showing off his ball skills Bolt tried out with Norwegian team Stromsgodset and South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, but was deemed surplus to requirements by both.
As Bolt loves the sun he headed Down Under to his beloved Australia, where he teamed up with the top flight’s smallest team Coast Central Mariners. Given little playing time in the pre-season friendlies and heavily criticised by media pundits following some indifferent cameo appearances, he left the side as was offered a fraction of the salary his agent demanded.
Despite being unable to agree terms with the Mariners he was offered a two-year contract with Maltese champions Valletta, which would have ticked all the boxes – lucrative money and potential to play in next season’s Champions League. Valletta, bankrolled by Abu Dhabi investors, compete against sides where the majority of players are part-timers and therefore Bolt would have had a chance to shine but he rejected the offer.
He explained about his dalliance in the football arena: “It was a good experience and fun while it lasted. I really enjoyed just being in a team, and it was different from track and field.
“I don’t want to say it wasn’t dealt with properly, but I think we went about it not the way we should and you learn your lesson – you live and you learn.
“I’m now moving into different businesses, I have a lot of things in the pipeline, so I’m just dabbling in everything and trying to be a businessman now.
“I’m just doing many different things, but the sports life is over.“
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