Usain Bolt earns contract offer from Maltese champions Valletta

Central Coast Mariners trialist Usain Bolt has a two-year contract offer from Valletta, the Maltese champions have confirmed.

Former sprint king and eight-time Olympic champion Bolt – on trial with Australian side the Mariners in his bid to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional footballer – was linked with an unnamed European club following his two-goal haul on Friday.

Bolt scored twice in his first start against Macarthur South West United before the 32-year-old Jamaican’s agent Tony Rallis revealed a two-year deal was on the table.

Now Valletta, who were taken over by Abu Dhabi-based Sanban Group in September, want Bolt to spearhead their Champions League aspirations.

“A champion is always welcome and at Valletta FC we believe nothing is impossible,” Valletta managing director and CEO Ghasston Slimen told ESPN.

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Bolt – who retired from track and field in 2017 – has been training with A-League outfit the Mariners since August.

He previously spent time training with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, Mamelodi Sundowns and Stromsgodset 

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Maltese champions Valletta want Usain Bolt

Central Coast Mariners trialist Usain Bolt has a two-year contract offer from Valletta, the Maltese champions confirmed.

Former sprint king and eight-time Olympic champion Bolt – on trial with Australian side the Mariners in his bid to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional footballer – was linked with an unnamed European club following his two-goal haul on Friday.

Bolt scored twice in his first start against Macarthur South West United before the 32-year-old Jamaican’s agent Tony Rallis revealed a two-year deal was on the table.

Now Valletta, who were taken over by Abu Dhabi-based Sanban Group in September, want Bolt to spearhead their Champions League aspirations.

“A champion is always welcome and at Valletta FC we believe nothing is impossible,” Valletta managing director and CEO Ghasston Slimen told ESPN.

Article continues below

Bolt – who retired from track and field in 2017 – has been training with A-League outfit the Mariners since August.

He previously spent time training with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, Mamelodi Sundowns and Stromsgodset 

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‘Real Madrid need to sign Icardi immediately’ – Capello urges swoop for Inter striker

Real Madrid should be looking to sign Inter striker Mauro Icardi “immediately”, claims former Blancos boss Fabio Capello.

The Liga giants have found goals hard to come by this season, with a four-game winless run seeing them fail to trouble the scorers.

It is now being suggested that a new frontman could be sought during the January transfer window, with proven cover still required for the departed Cristiano Ronaldo.

Capello believes that search should lead Real to Italy, with Icardi – who finished as the joint-top scorer in Serie A last season – the perfect choice for a misfiring Madrid side.

“I am a fan of his,” Capello told Radio Rai.

“He is a specialist in the penalty area, as was Cristiano Ronaldo, and if you put three balls in the area he hits all three.

“If I were Real Madrid, I would sign him immediately.”

Icardi, who Inter are hoping to tie to fresh terms in the near future, has managed 112 goals in 190 appearances for Inter.

The Argentina international will be hoping to add to that tally when he returns to domestic action in a derby date with AC Milan on Sunday.

That contest will see a potential Madrid striker of the future pitched into direct competition with a proven striker of their past.

Higuain Milan Chievo

Icardi’s countryman, Gonzalo Higuain, is currently starring for the Rossoneri after completing a summer loan switch from Juventus.

Capello worked with him at Real in 2007 and is a big fan of the qualities that the 30-year-old offers.

“He had the great quality of always finding the goal,” added the ex-Juve and England coach.

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“That means he had coordination, mentality and technical abilities.

“Now he’s improved even more because he participates in the action, and playing in Europe has helped him.

“He’s a very interesting person on a human level and he’s always been a good guy.”

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Napoli chief reveals talks over Barca & Dortmund target Piatek

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed that he has opened talks over the signing of Genoa sensation Krzysztof Piatek. 

Piatek leads the Serie A goalscoring charts this season with nine strikes in seven games, turning him into one of Europe’s most sought-after young strikers. 

The 23-year-old has attracted reported interest from some of the continent’s top teams, with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund among his alleged suitors. 

Napoli, however, are looking to steal a march on their rivals, with De Laurentiis confirming he is negotiating a bid. 

“I have spoke with both [Genoa president] Preziosi and his agent, now we have to meet,” the Napoli chief told reporters on Monday. 

“But I do not want to end up in a bidding war, with all due respect to the player, I must also see if he can perform at Napoli like he has done at Genoa.” 

Piatek started his career in Poland with Lechia Dzierzoniow and Zag?ebie Lubin, before earning a move to Krakow side Cracovia in 2016. 

A breakout season in 2017-18 saw him net 21 goals in 36 Ekstraklasa, a tally that convinced Genoa to take him to Italy at the start of the current season. 

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His stay at the club looks set to be a short one, however, with comparisons to Bayern Munich’s Poland star Robert Lewandowski emerging due to his exploits in front of the net.

Piatek’s talents have also been noticed in the Poland set-up, having been handed his debut for the national team in September against the Republic of Ireland. 

His maiden goal came in Thursday’s UEFA Nations League match against Portugal, where he scored the opener in a game that eventually ended 3-2 in favour of Fernando Santos’ charges.
 

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‘Bayern are keeping a close eye on Cengiz’ – Roma’s Under wanted in Munich

The chairman of Cengiz Under’s former club has insisted that Bayern Munich are monitoring the Roma and Turkey forward.

Under made his professional debut in 2014 at Altinordu, playing 51 times in the Turkish second tier before earning a move to Super Lig side Bursaspor. Nine goals in 43 games in his debut season there saw Roma splash out €13.4 million (£11.8m/$15.5m) for the right winger.

He could now be on the move again, with Bayern Munich looking to find long-term replacements for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who are due to turn 35 and 36 this season respectively.

Under is a regular at Roma and after impressing there in Serie A and the Champions League, is in demand across Europe. He has been linked with clubs such as Monaco and Arsenal, but Altinordu’s chairman says that Bayern could be a likely destination for the €60m-rated (£53m/$70m) 21-year-old.

“Bayern Munich are keeping a close eye on Cengiz,” Mehmet Ozkan told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“All I can say is that he could move for a lot of money.”

Bayern could face a lot of competition for the 15-time Turkey international, with Roma sporting director Monchi confirming Barcelona interest in March. However, Monchi insisted that he was not for sale and that the Italian club had long-term plans for the winger.

“It’s true that Barcelona have an interest in the player,” Monchi said in an interview with Radyospor.

“Bayram Tutumlu [Under’s agent] has a strong relationship with Barca and he informed me that there is definitely an interest there.

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“We have not received any offers for the player but it would not surprise me if he was being tracked – he is a young, talented player who is scoring a lot of goals.

“Our aim is for Cengiz to become a very important player for us because he has youth and all the qualities needed to do that.”

Under has started five of Roma’s Serie A games so far this season, scoring one goal. He also netted in their 5-0 Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen and started the 3-0 loss to Real Madrid in their opening game.

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