For years now, Usain Bolt has been angling for a chance to play for Manchester United and now he might have his chance -- in a charity match and not with the club's first team.
Bolt first wrote in his 2010 autobiography that if he played football, he would like to do it for his favorite club, Man United. "If Alex Ferguson saw me in one of those charity matches he might think I could replace Ryan Giggs," Bolt said. After winning his first of three gold medals at the London Olympics last month, Bolt reiterated his desire to have a trial with the club and gained support from Man United defender Rio Ferdinand, who said he would speak to manager Sir Alex Ferguson about making it happen.
Now Bolt could have a chance to show what he can do on the pitch, albeit not with Ferdinand and his teammates, but with a team of retired Man United legends in what has become a regular charity match against Real Madrid's old boys next summer.
Ferguson told Man United's official magazine, Inside United (via The Sun):
"Usain's a character and a big United fan.
"But it's interesting he says he'd like to play in a charity game. It could be brilliant, and next year when we play Real Madrid's Legends again, there could be opportunities to bring him up and see how he does."
Bolt didn't say he wanted to play in a charity match for Man United -- he said he's already shown his ability in other charity matches and now wants a crack at playing for the first team. Still, it seems unlikely he would turn down the chance to play alongside, especially since he claims to be a Real Madrid fan too.
"I prefer Real Madrid to any other team," Bolt told Real Madrid's official website in 2008. "I wish they'd let me train with them one day. I'm serious." So an opportunity like this would be killing two birds with one stone for him.
This year's Corazon Classic at the Santiago Bernabeu included the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos on Real Madrid's side and Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke and Edwin van der Sar for United. Though Bolt could likely run circles around those older legs, 40-year-old Zidane still has enough magic in him to convince Bolt that he should stick to the track.
Apparently Ferguson feels he owes the Jamaican sprinter a favor after winning some money betting on him at the Olympics.
"I must thank him because that was my biggest bet. Bolt was 4/5 to win each of them a week before the Olympics started. It was a brilliant bet."
Ferguson had the chance to thank Bolt when he visited Manchester as a guest of honor to visit with the team and watch it beat Fulham in its first home match of the season. The two shared a laugh, but Bolt didn't get a contract out of him.