Central Coast Mariners part ways with eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt

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Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt‘s trial at Australian football club Central Coast Mariners is over.

The club announced on Friday morning that it was parting ways with the 32-year-old, who was on an indefinite trial.

Bolt played 95 minutes for the A-League outfit in two trial games and scored twice against weak opposition, but appeared to find the transition from track to field tricky.

The club, Bolt and his agent Ricky Simms were trying to find a commercial deal but said they will not be “able to settle on a suitable deal in a timely manner”.

The Jamaican said: “I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners owners, management, staff, players and fans for making me feel so welcome during my time there. I wish the club success for the season ahead.”

Bolt’s brace came in a friendly against Macarthur South West United with on-loan strike partner Ross McCormack saying: “If he pulls it all together, he can be some threat”.

But former Republic of Ireland international Andy Keogh was less taken by Bolt, saying the sprint star had a first touch “like a trampoline”.

Central Coast Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth wished Bolt well for the future.

He said: “Despite the fact that we could not come to an agreement that would continue Usain Bolt’s football journey with the Central Coast Mariners, we’ve been thrilled to have the Olympic champion sprinter and world record holder as part of our club for these past eight weeks.

“For the Mariners, it’s been a pleasure to work with Usain as he pursued his desire to become a professional football player.

“From day one, Usain dedicated himself to being part of the Mariners. He integrated very well into the team and made great strides as a footballer.

“Most notable, was his performance in Campbelltown where he scored two goals helping the Mariners secure a 4-0 win against Macarthur South West United.

“Whilst we understand that Usain will not be part of the club going forward, the Central Coast Mariners wish him all the best in his future endeavours and we hope that opportunities arise to collaborate in other capacities in the future.”

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Frank Lampard reveals difficulty 'napping' ahead of Chelsea return as his Derby side lose at Stamford Bridge

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Derby boss Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard had a night of mixed emotions as his Derby side were eliminated from the Carabao Cup by former club Chelsea.

Lampard was serenaded throughout after being denied a Stamford Bridge farewell more than four years ago as two own goals proved costly for Championship Derby in a 3-2 loss.

Chelsea’s record goalscorer was frustrated Cesc Fabregas’ decisive strike after 41 minutes was allowed to stand. The Rams felt there was a foul by Davide Zappacosta on Tom Lawrence in the build-up.

“The third goal was a foul. The whole stadium saw that,” Lampard said.

“I turned round thinking we’d got the foul, then looked back and they were in our box.

“VAR should clear up the ones that go slightly wrong. It didn’t.”

Lampard scored a club record 211 goals in 648 appearances and 13 years at Chelsea, but left when his contract expired in June 2014, without having the chance to say goodbye.

Lampard admitted an afternoon nap – a routine retained from his playing days – had proven difficult on a surreal day.

He added: “It was exciting for me. Nervous and excited. It is home. Not my current home, but my home for such a long time.

“My overriding feeling is thanks to the Chelsea fans and the Derby fans and pride at the team.”

Lampard refused to dwell on his departure.

He added: “I left quietly. That was the circumstances at the time. I’ve got no bad feelings and I’ve got great relationships.

“It was nice to come back and feel it so positive.”

Chelsea granted Derby special dispensation to field on loan pair Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount against their parent club.

Tomori and Richard Keogh scored own goals, with Derby’s equalisers coming from Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn, whose effort was set up by Mount.

Fabregas struck and Derby had chances to level again, leaving Chelsea assistant boss Gianfranco Zola to admit there was plenty of room for improvement.

“It was more than a little bit (shaky), especially towards the end,” Zola said.

Chelsea are still unbeaten in competitive games this season and next face Bournemouth.

Arsenal and Tottenham were drawn to face each other in the quarter-finals.

Arsenal beat Blackpool 2-1 and Spurs won 3-1 at West Ham in a contest marred by trouble at the London Stadium.

Middlesbrough beat Crystal Palace, earning a home game with League One Burton.

Reigning champions Manchester City play Fulham on Thursday and the winner will face either Leicester or Southampton.

That game was due to be played on Tuesday, but was postponed following the death of Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on Saturday.

The last-eight ties take place in the week commencing December 17.

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Egypt and Tottenham icon Mido reflects on his tumultuous career

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A mischievous smile cracks across this familiar face.

Mido, a former Egypt striker described as “completely nuts” in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s acclaimed autobiography, has just been asked whether he had any regrets about a trailblazing playing career that burned brightly as a teenager at Ajax, but ended in ignominy aged 30 at second-division Barnsley.

“No, no regrets,” comes the reply, while smirking, at a du Football Champions event to promote the launch of both season 4 and du Talents, a Middle East-first sports tech scouting platform. “Never.”

The term ‘maverick’ is over-used in football. It is the only apt way to describe Mido.

At his best, he twinned an imposing physique with deft technique. These traits helped him become a giant at Zamalek and Belgium’s Gent before he was legally an adult.

There were 20 goals in 51 matches for his nation and 2006’s Africa Cup of Nations success. Plus, spells at Tottenham, Roma, Marseille and Celta Vigo – where four strikes in eight La Liga matches earned a club-first stint in the Champions League.

There was also, however, the aforementioned incident where an exchange of verbals with Ibrahimovic saw a pair of scissors launched with such velocity that they lodged in a wall next to the, fortunate, future Sweden superstar’s head.

Disagreements with a litany of coaches reached their nadir during 2006’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Mido had to be dragged away from Hassan Shehata during the semi-final win against Senegal. Shehata’s crime was to haul off his ineffective star attacker.

When Mido entered his peak footballing years, returns of two goals in 12 matches for Wigan Athletic and zero in nine for West Ham United were produced.

Since the Egyptian officially retired aged 30 in June 2013, Ibrahimovic has scored 172 goals in 213 run-outs for Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy. Less than a decade ago, the latter couldn’t get a look in at Ajax because of his team-mate’s superiority.

“I think it could have been better and it could have been worse,” says Mido of his playing days.

“But I’m proud of what I’ve done. I played for some great clubs and had a very good relationship with team-mates, very good friends until now and I think that this is the most important thing about football is to build relationships and have friends through your career.

“Some good memories were when we won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, when we won the league with Ajax after four years without winning it, when I signed for a big club like Tottenham.

“Very important was qualifying for the Champions League with Celta Vigo for the only time in their history. A lot of good things, never regrets.”

In retirement, Mido’s nonconformist ways have made him a natural as an outspoken football pundit.

This candour, however, caused problems as one of the first imports from the Middle East to Europe.

There have been no such issues for Liverpool’s current Egypt pin-up Mohamed Salah, while France-born, Algeria international Riyad Mahrez earned a summer move to Manchester City after overcoming a fit of pique at Leicester City.

Did the previous generation lack the professionalism to succeed abroad?

Mido answers: “I think it is a little bit unfair to say that the Arab players before weren’t professional enough. They have a different mentality.

“You cannot get someone who has been raised up in a totally different culture and ask him to react in the same way as an English, German or Dutch boy does.

“They are different, but players now let’s say in my opinion are more focused on their game.

“Now, football is different with social media and the attention around the game. Players they take good care of themselves and I wish we had this attention when we were playing.

“I remember when I scored a goal in Europe it was written in Egypt two days after, so it’s different. We were a bit isolated.”

Mido (l) reacts after heading a late equaliser against Arsenal during the League Cup semi-final, second leg in January 2007.

Mido (l) reacts after heading a late equaliser at Arsenal during a League Cup semi-final, second leg in January 2007.

Mido is now in a better place.

His slim-line figure has returned, courtesy of winning a battle that threatened premature death in 2017 when hitting 150kg.

Foundations are also nearly laid to better a coaching career that has previously provided mixed results in his home country.

“I’m getting my coaching badges in Wales, I’ve already done my C and B and I’m almost done with my A badges,” Mido says.

“I’m getting my Masters in Football Development and Coaching with the University of South Wales, so I’m taking good care of my education, because I don’t think playing experience is enough, I think education is important.

“I’ve already coached Egyptian clubs Zamalek, Wadi Degla and Ismaily, but now I’m looking for a good opportunity to come to Europe, even as an assistant to a good manager. I’ll get my badges done and then see where it goes.”

duFC, in partnership with La Liga, offers a professional scouting platform to develop the male and female football champions of tomorrow. More than 21,500 players have taken part in its opening three seasons.

The new du Talents allows prospects to upload highlights of their skills, connecting directly with coaches and scouts.

For more information, visit www.dufc.ae and https://talent.dufc.ae/.

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