Usain Bolt remains on the verge of realising his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
The 32-year-old, who won eight Olympic gold medals during his illustrious athletics career, has been on trial with Central Coast Mariners since August and managed to impress the Australian side’s coaching staff with his attitude and the amount of improvement he made during a short time period.
Although he looked a little awkward and ungainly during his first couple of appearances, he managed to score two goals in his final trial match against second-tier outfit Macarthur South West United earlier this month.
Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms then confirmed the former sprinter had been offered a contract from Central Coast Mariners. He was also offered an unconditional two-year deal from Maltese champions Valletta FC.
However, it’s the Mariners who Bolt wants to join - although his wage demands have prevented a deal from being finalised thus far.
The Australian FA are currently working with the Mariners to help fund a deal for the Jamaican, who reportedly wants $3 million a year.
However, not everyone is convinced that Bolt is good enough to become a professional footballer.
Former Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh, who currently plies his trade with Perth Glory, caused a stir earlier this week by saying Bolt will never make it in the sport because he has a first touch “like a trampoline”.
"He's not going to be able to make it," Keogh told Off the Ball, per BBC Sport. "It's nice to have the attention on the A-League but him playing here, that's not for me.
"He's shown a bit of potential but it's a little bit of a kick in the teeth to the professionals that are in the league."
"If there's someone who genuinely thinks he'd be a good football addition, I don't think they should be in a position to make those calls.”
Ouch. A handful of other current and former footballers have echoed similar sentiments in recent weeks, including former Bayern Munich and Liverpool defender Markus Babbel.
"As a PR campaign, it is sensational,” Babbel told Swiss newspaper Blick, per Goal. "But, honestly, I cannot take that seriously.
"I saw him play. That's never enough in a hundred years. As a player, I would feel like a fool."
Bolt posts defiant message on social media amid criticism
Despite the huge wave of criticism over both his footballing ability and his dream of making it in the sport, Bolt is not ready to throw in the towel.
If anything, it will only make him more determined to succeed, judging by his latest tweet.
"They say Bolt wasting his time," Bolt said on Twitter, with the full version available to read on his Instagram.
"They laugh at the dream. They ridicule the hard work. Listen my youths. Every country youth, every ghetto youth, work hard at your dream and let not [a] single soul tell you that [you] can't achieve.
"Remember if you don’t try, you’ve already failed."
Very well said, Usain. Ignore the haters and keep doing your thing.
His fans are all firmly behind him and are pleased to see that critics of his dream aren’t bringing him down.