Sprinting superstar Usain Bolt has turned down a contract from Maltese champion Valletta and will remain in Australia to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer, his agent said yesterday. The eight-time Olympic champion has been on trial with A-League club the Central Coast Mariners since arriving Down Under in August. He scored two goals in a pre-season friendly last Friday but is yet to be offered a deal, with cashed-up Valletta dangling a two-year trial-free contract to entice him away earlier this week. But Bolt's agent Ricky Simms said he had opted against a move to the Maltese Premier League team, which is backed by a group of investors from the Sanban Group in the United Arab Emirates.
"There is a lot of interest in Usain playing football," he told ESPN.
"We regularly receive similar approaches. I can confirm Usain does not wish to pursue this opportunity in Malta."
Valletta chief executive Ghasston Slimen told the broadcaster: "We wish Usain Bolt all the best with his football career. The Valletta FC offer is always on the table."
Australia's domestic A-League season starts this weekend, with the Mariners in action Sunday away to Brisbane Roar. With no contract, Bolt is not eligible for selection. Reports suggest the Mariners are waiting for governing body Football Federation Australia to decide whether it will contribute to a potential $3 million Australian dollars (US$2.1 million) offer to the 100m world record holder.