In an interview with the Daily Star this week, sprinting superstar Usain Bolt re-iterated his desire to turn his considerable talents to football when the time comes for him to retire from the sport.
As a lifelong Manchester United fan, Bolt has cultivated a strong relationship with the club and was due to feature in Rio Ferdinand's testimonial against Sevilla in August, but was forced to withdraw due to a clash with his preparations for the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
"Football is on the cards when I retire from athletics," said Bolt. “Hopefully, I can get a few charity matches in before then.”
But are these hopes surrounding a football career realistic? Or are they simply the latest ploy in a long line of typical Bolt bravado?
His scarcely believable pace is certainly a tremendous asset that could be utilised to potentially devastating effect. Bolt is a truly phenomenal sprinter, evidenced by a stunning career to date that has seen him break numerous world records and also become the most successful athlete in the history of the World Championships.
Football, of course, is not solely concerned with pace. However, we can certainly all observe occasions on which a seemingly mediocre talent is accepted and persevered with due to their considerable speed.
In addition, Bolt's fame and global profile would present a hugely lucrative marketing opportunity in an age where top-flight football has essentially become a profit-making exercise.
While a club like Manchester United are certainly not short of opportunities to generate significant revenue, Bolt's presence could create a revenue stream that would be difficult to turn down.
Bolt's infectious and captivating media personality is another significant asset that could persuade a football club (perhaps other than United) to take a chance on him. As we have seen with the recent curious case of One Direction star Louis Tomlinson signing for his beloved Doncaster Rovers - clubs will risk being exposed to ridicule if it could result in a major boost to their profile.
Whether Bolt honestly intends to pursue a career in professional career in football remains to be seen. While it may sound a ludicrous and utterly far fetched idea to many, the Jamaican's presence in the sport would certainly not be dull.
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