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Usain Bolt’s Failed Foray into Football, and Why Retirement Became Permanent

The Jamaican former sprinter and world record holder has hit back at his short-lived stint as a professional footballer recently, saying he was never given a “fair chance” at success.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist is an ardent fan of the sport, and has made his love for English Premiere League greats Manchester United known. One of the most successful clubs in football, it was even widely rumoured that he could pair up with the Red Devils’ B-team for a stint, if not for its marketing potentiality.

Bolt retired from athletics in 2017 but then proceeded on a trial for Australian A-league side Central Coast Mariners. He starred in several friendlies, scoring a brace in one of them. With this, it almost seemed like it was on the cards for Bolt to begin another fairy tale profession, even if it wasn’t at the highest level he aspired for it to be.

At the stroke of 32 with his future seemingly set in the A-league, Bolt said: “I’m here to push myself and learn as much as possible.

“I’m just going to put the work in, but at the end of the day it’s the coach’s decision. I’m just here to do my best.

“Now I have the opportunity to play with a top team and show what I can do.”

Despite his appearances, the Mariners and seemingly Bolt himself, were not keen on each other, and the move dematerialised. He went on to reject an offer made by Maltese outfit Valletta.  Admittedly, Bolt was left frustrated.

“I think I didn’t get a fair chance,” Bolt told World Wide Sports in an interview.

“I didn’t do it how I wanted to do it, but it’s something I think I would’ve been good at. But it’s just one of those things you miss out on and just have to move on.”

“I do think about it sometimes that it didn’t work out the way that I wanted it to, because football is something that I love. The fact that it didn’t work out I do think about it, but as I said, it’s one of those things you’ve got to move past.”

Earlier in 2020, Bolt’s partner Kasi Bennett gave birth to their daughter, Olympia Lightning Bolt, and the footballer told 9 News Australia that he was contented with his life.

“Being a parent now, it’s different. It gives you a sense of accomplishment so I’m really happy and just excited to go on this journey.”

Bolt also expressed this year of his desire to return to his original scene in time for the Tokyo Olympics, which has now been tabled to 2021.

“My coach said to me, ‘No’,” Bolt explained.

“I remember when I was going to retire he said, ‘Listen to me, when you retire, you retire — you’re not doing a comeback tour’. And then when I actually went to him and said, ‘Hey coach what do you think? Let’s go try for 2020’, he said, ‘No, we’re not doing it.”

“I thought about it, but it was not on the cards for my coach.”

Bolt has reiterated since then that the birth of his daughter has given him perspective on his achievements, and ultimately on his decision to not go through with the comeback.

In spite of feeling ‘too old’ to return, he still maintains that the competitiveness in him has and will always be the main driver.

“If someone beats me I want to play again,” he says of playing online games.

“I kind of knew when I was going to retire so I mentally got myself ready, and I still do a lot of work, and try to keep my hand in different businesses here and there. I’m happy.”

(On his daughter, Olympia, following in his footsteps) “Everybody is already asking, ‘Is she going to run?’ But I won’t push her to do any sports. She can do whatever she wants, I’m just here to support.”

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