Bolivian top flight club Sport Boys have made a major signing for next season by snapping up the country's president, Evo Morales, for the 2014/15 campaign.
According to The Guardian, the 54-year-old self-confessed football fanatic will play in midfield and wear the number 10 for Santa Cruz-based club.
“He loves football and plays well,” said Sport Boys’ president Mario Cronenbold. “We'll send him a list of matches and he'll choose which ones to play in.”
The move is said to be a “dream come true” for Morales, who will receive a salary of $213 (£127) per month and play for around 20 minutes in each game that he can fit in alongside his busy day job.
But how is a man presumably past his prime going to cope with the rigours of the professional game? Cronenbold is not worried. “As I told the president, jokingly, we are not putting the president of Uruguay on the field,” he said, referring to 78-year-old José Mujica, “We are contracting a person who is in very good shape and who lives soccer.”
While no doubt a shock signing, this is not the first time that Morales has made the headlines for his footballing exploits. In 2007 he played in a match at 6,000-metres (19,700 feet) above sea level to protest against efforts to stop Bolivia playing its international fixtures at high altitude. And later, in 2010, he was caught on camera kneeing an opponent in the groin during a heated match against the mayor of La Paz’s team.
No questioning his commitment to the cause then.
Morales has been president of Bolivia since 2006 and is widely expected to be re-elected later this year.
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