The fastest man on earth visited FIFA on Wednesday. Usain Bolt, who holds the world record for both the 100 and 200-metre sprints, dropped in on the Home of FIFA in Zurich ahead of the IAAF Diamond League-Weltklasse Zurich meeting on Thursday evening at the Letzigrund Stadium.
The Jamaican, a huge football fan who has often flirted with the idea of playing professionally after he retires from the track, was greeted by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and Fuleco, the official mascot for the next FIFA World Cup™. President Blatter handed ‘Lightning Bolt’ a FIFA No9 shirt and personally invited the man who recently turned 27 to Brazil 2014.
“For years, he has dominated speed events,” said the FIFA President. “I’m very proud that this great gentlemen is here today. He also showed again recently that the 4 x 100m is very important to him, which proves that he is a team player, just like in football.”
Bolt was pleased to visit the Home of FIFA for the first time. “For me, it’s an honour to be here today,” he said. “I follow football and today I saw the World Cup Trophy for the first time.”
I would like to become a legend like Pele, Maradona, Muhammad Ali or Michael Johnson.
During the press conference, Bolt took time to answer questions from FIFA Facebook users, like Kevon Gordon from Montego Bay in Jamaica, who asked the six- time Olympic gold medallist which team he is tipping to win the FIFA World Cup. “I’ve been watching a few matches this year and I’m impressed by Brazil,” was Bolt’s response. “They have a young team and can win it at home. A lot of teams have figured out how to win against Spain.”
Bolt would love to see Jamaica at Brazil 2014, but his home nation are currently propping up the six-team group in the final round of North, Central America and Caribbean Zone qualifying. The Reggae Boyz have, though, reacted to their situation by appointing Winfried Schafer as coach. First up for the experienced German is a trip to Panama on 6 September, and you can follow that clash live on FIFA.com’s MatchCast.
“I’ve been watching Jamaican football a lot over the past years”, Bolt said in response to a question from @FIFAcom Twitter user Angky Abdika, a Barcelona fan from Indonesia. “There is a lot of talent in Jamaica, natural talent just like in athletics. It’s important to try to teach them skills though. Football is more difficult and it takes a lot more time [to develop] than in athletics, but if we are getting the young guys and teaching them properly, it would be great.”
FIFA has invited the IAAF Diamond League organisers to hold their pre-meeting press conference, in which the eight-time world champion in 100m, 200m and relay will partake, in the auditorium of the Home of FIFA, where all the football governing body’s important media events invariably take place.
Bolt, meanwhile - already an all-time great in his sport - would like to follow the footsteps of legendary figures in other disciplines. “I would like to become a legend,” he said, “like Pele, Maradona, Muhammad Ali or Michael Johnson.”