Usain Bolt’s dream of becoming a professional footballer suffered a major blow earlier this month after he failed to agree terms over a permanent contract with Australian side Central Coast Mariners.
The A-League club wanted to sign Bolt - the fastest man of all time - following his eight-week trial, in which he scored two goals during his final appearance against second-tier outfit Macarthur South West United in October.
However, Central Coast Mariners were unable to secure a “commercial solution” to keep the Olympic legend at the club.
Bolt reportedly wanted a contract worth $3 million a year, which was way below the Mariners’ initial $150,000 annual salary offer. A deal hinged on a contribution from a “third party” - but, despite meetings with “several promising potential partners”, no deal was reached.
Bolt, who turned 32 in August, admitted the experience taught him that making it as a professional footballer was a “little bit harder” than he expected, but pledged not to give up on his post-sprinting career ambition.
“We’ll see what happens. I think people are still contacting my agent now about opportunities, so we’ll see in which direction it goes,” he told reporters.
“For me, I’ve learned that I still have it. I figure that I was improving a lot, so as you can see from the first game to the last game, I really improved and did better.”
But just when Bolt’s dream appeared to be dead in the water, Diego Maradona - yes, Diego Maradona - has offered the Jamaican a lifeline.
Per the Mirror, Bolt is in talks over an unexpected move to Mexican second division club Dorados, who are managed by Maradona.
Maradona reportedly wants to add Bolt to his ranks after the pair played alongside each other during a charity friendly match in Switzerland earlier this year.
El Diego, regarded by some people as the greatest footballer of all time, has started talking to sponsors in the hope of finding a way to cover Bolt’s wages.
The report adds that Maradona wants Bolt to ‘spearhead his team’s attack next season’ if Dorados can secure promotion to Liga MX.
Dorados are currently in the second division play-offs and will face Juarez in the semi-final first leg on Wednesday night.
Bolt will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the action.