If he had his way, the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt will be playing Premier League football for Manchester United but Sir Alex Ferguson is unlikely to take up the offer. The New York Post reports that the Olympic gold medalist has trained with German giants Bayern Munich earlier this month and was praised by the club for his soccer skills but United are his preferred choice.
The 24 year old Bolt who won three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 reveals in his autobiography “Ideally, if I was to play football, I’d sign for my favourite team Manchester United. People say it’s not realistic but nobody has seen me play so you never know. If Sir Alex Ferguson saw me in one of those charity matches he might think I could replace Ryan Giggs. The Jamaican’s fastest time over 100 meters of 9.58 seconds was set when he won the world championships in Berlin last year and saw him average 23.35 miles per hour.
Bolt has made claims that he played as a “left sided defensive midfielder” when he was in high school but now he’s seriously talking about his future as a footballer and not just his past. He still carries a copy of the French sporting newspaper L’Equipe which features a spread on his football skills and praise from Bayern manager Louis van Gaal. He’s also keen to show a photo of himself with his arm wrapped round the dwarfed 6ft German forward Miroslav Klose. “If I keep myself in shape I can definitely play football at a high level” he insists.
It’s difficult to imagine Sir Alex taking Bolt seriously of course and one can almost see the Olympic champion’s tongue firmly planted in his cheek but a number of sprinters have tried their luck at other sports in the past. Dwain Chambers tried American football after coming back from a drugs ban to win gold with his team mates in the 4×100 meters at the 2006 European Championships.
Former Manchester United legend Mark Hughes who is now firmly established in Premier League management doubts whether athletes can make good footballers. “There are plenty of examples of players with blistering pace but unfortunately they don’t know how to use it to the best of their abilities. I would imagine Usain comes under that banner.”
Ferguson has been known to pull a rabbit or two out of a hat in his time but this would be a real Bolt out of the blue even for someone as unpredictable as Sir Alex.
Can sprinters be developed into good footballers in their mid twenties?