Usain Bolt’s football dream up in the air in Australia

The sprint star has long held ambitions to play professional football .
Updated 19 July 2018

Usain Bolt’s football dream up in the air in Australia

Football Federation Australia has responded cautiously to reports 
Usain Bolt hopes to play for the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League.
Reports said the 31-year-old Bolt, the eight-time Olympic sprint gold medalist and fastest man ever, had agreed to trial with the Mariners next month and may receive a one-season A-League contract if he impresses.
However, in order to make a deal possible the FFA would have to top up any salary offered to Bolt from its $3 million fund to attract “marquee” players. The Mariners owner reportedly has offered to meet 70 percent of Bolt’s salary but the FFA’s contribution might still be around $900,000.
In a statement, the FFA said: “While Usain Bolt is one of the most famous athletes on the planet, he’s not a professional footballer.
“If the trial goes ahead and Central Coast Mariners decided it stacks up and they want to offer him a contract, then we will have a discussion with them around that and what might be possible.”
Bolt, who quit the track last year, has already trialed unsuccessfully with Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns. Many regard reports he might trial with the Mariners as a public relations stunt. His previous trials were with clubs that shared his major sponsor.
“It is crucial to note that all discussions between the Central Coast Mariners and Bolt require an initial six-week trial period and no contract is guaranteed,” a club statement said.
Bolt’s agent, Ricky Sims, confirmed that the Jamaican athlete is 
considering the Mariners’ offer of 
a trial.
“Usain has made it quite clear that he’s interested in playing professional football,” Simms said.
“We’re looking at a number of options and this is one of them.”
Australian player agent Tony 
Rallis, who first revealed Bolt’s interest in playing in the A-League, said Bolt was genuine in his desire to play for the Mariners.
“If he meets the benchmarks set by the coaches, he’ll be given a contract,” Rallis said.
“He’ll be treated like another one of the players and he doesn’t want to be treated like a different player.
“He’s got a point to prove and he’s determined to prove he’s worth a contract.”

Ernesto Valverde to stay in Barcelona dugout after contract extension

Updated 15 February 2019

Ernesto Valverde to stay in Barcelona dugout after contract extension

  • Barca boss took over at the Nou Camp in 2017.
  • Valverde led Catalan club to the league and Cup double last year.

BARCELONA: Spanish champions Barcelona announced Friday they have extended the contract of coach Ernesto Valverde for another season with the option of one more.

Valverde, who took over at the Nou Camp in 2017 after joining from Athletic Bilbao, won the league and cup double last season.

“FC Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde, the first team coach, have reached an agreement to extend the contract between the two parties for another season (2019/20) with the option for one more (2020/21),” the club said in a statement.

Valverde’s previous contract would have expired at the end of this season.

He came within a whisker of leading Barca to an undefeated 2017/2018 season when only a defeat late in the season at Levante prevented the team from making history.

Barca’s run of scoring in 37 consecutive matches in the league came to an end last Sunday with a goalless draw away to Athletic Bilbao.