Usain Bolt is determined to let his football ability do the talking when he arrives in Sydney on Saturday, with Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp revealing the Jamaican sprint star will get no special treatment during his trial with the club.
The eight-time Olympic gold medal winner will begin his campaign to earn a professional football contract next week when he joins the Mariners' pre-season preparations and, despite his lack of football experience, will be amongst the highest profile athletes to grace the league.
His arrival is sure to be a major operation with the Mariners boss tasked with transporting, housing and protecting one of the biggest names in world sport.
Despite his profile, Bolt is determined to keep his time on the Central Coast low key with his focus purely on achieving his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
“We have had no requests for private bodyguards, personal masseurs, chauffeurs. Nothing about providing bottled water from France either,” Mielekamp told the Daily Telegraph.
“There is no entourage. It’s only Bolt and his manager with the latter already here.
“When Usain arrives it will be just him and he will be driving a club Hyundai like everybody else.”
“And that’s what Bolt wants — this is about his football journey.
“There are other clubs (internationally) who offered millions more than he’d be able to earn on a contract with us. He’s coming here for the right reasons.”
While the Mariners will move a number of their training sessions from their usual Tuggerah grounds to the 20,000 capacity Central Coast Stadium to accommodate the extra attention Bolt brings in, the sprint star won’t be getting his own dressing room like Alessandro Del Piero did when he joined Sydney FC from Juventus.
“No Usuain will be putting his boots on with everyone else,” the Mariners CEO said.
“The one thing we’ve been really firm on is that Usain, while trialling for a contract, [will] be treated the same as any player.
“Obviously, we understand the realities of having somebody of his profile. But (when it comes to football) there will be no advantages.”