Usain Bolt hit headlines around the world last week when he scored twice in a game for Australian club Central Coast Mariners. The retired sprint king has been concertedly trying to make it as a professional footballer ever since he hung up his spikes in 2017 and would be a huge talking point and commercial draw for any club that offers him a proper contract.
Bearing that in mind, there’s great fun to be arbitrarily speculating which clubs should or could take on the eight-time Olympic gold medallist.
Here’s a look at seven possible destinations for Bolt the pro footballer, with varying degrees of sensible and/or tongue-in-cheek reasoning…
7. Central Coast Mariners
The easy one is simply for Bolt to land a full-time contract with Central Coast Mariners.
While the A-League remain relatively ‘known’, its quality is certainly, for now, far lower than would be found in much of Europe and there would be more chance that Bolt might actually play a bit rather than simply be a marketing tool…although he would also be that too.
6. Manchester United
Manchester United are arguably the most commercial club on the planet and have been already been accused of signing players purely for commercial gain in the past. Does anyone remember much derided Chinese flop Dong Fangzhuo?
Bolt is also a huge United fan and has actually played at Old Trafford once before when he took part in the 2018 Soccer Aid match for UNICEF.
5. Blackburn Rovers
Venky’s controversial ownership of Blackburn has been much less in the spotlight of late, with Rovers now back in the Championship and an outside bet for playoff contention at present as they ultimately seek a return to the Premier League.
But might the owners who once tried and failed to bring Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho to Ewood Park to get the club on the global map be tempted by the prospect of Bolt now that the promised land of the Premier League is back in sight?
4. Istanbul Basaksehir
With the utmost respect to the Turkish Super Lig, it can often be where ‘top’ players end up when no club in a major European league is willing to offer them a contract.
Those who go there arrive to much fanfare and it will be a while before the scenes that greeted Darius Vassell at the airport when he joined Ankaragucu in 2009 fade from memory.
Istanbul Basaksehir have assembled a squad of numerous ‘Oh, I remember you’-type players, from Emmanuel Adebayor, to Emre Belozoglu, Gael Clichy, Gokhan Inler and Arda Turan, with Bolt potentially fitting right into that ‘big name but not actually that good’ vibe.
3. LA Galaxy
Just take a moment to envisage the magnitude of a strike partnership between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Usain Bolt in the most over the top city on earth, Los Angeles.
LA Galaxy have certainly never done things by halves, from kick starting the stalling MLS revolution in 2007 by signing David Beckham, to taking Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole on board at various times.
With the team struggling to make the 2018 playoffs, just think of Bolt as being the real life version of Alex Hunter signing up as part of the ‘The Journey’ in FIFA 18. Because imagining this as a video game scenario is the only way it could probably happen.
2. West Ham
Although they appeared to become sensible almost overnight at the end of last season, hiring Manuel Pellegrini, making a number of smart signings and altogether being well prepared for 2018/19, West Ham have long had a reputation for wanting to be the centre of attention.
Could the Hammers slip back into old ways for a bit of limelight with Bolt…?
1. AC Milan
Based on a report from the Australian Daily Telegraph about a mystery club trying to steal Bolt from under the nose of Central Coast Mariners, AC Milan actually seems to fit the clues.
It is said that a club from southern Europe in a top flight league with new owners, Champions League ambitions and due to play in a ‘cup final’ quite soon have offered a two-year contract.
Milan actually ticks all those boxes and are looking to compete with the elite after falling behind. Bolt won’t change their fortunes on the pitch – he isn’t actually very good – but he would certainly get people talking about Milan all over again.