Retired Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt has confirmed that he will be playing for a World XI in the 2018 edition of star-studded biennial charity event Soccer Aid for Unicef at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium on Sunday 10 June.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist, a staunch United fan, made the announcement in a video featuring singer Robbie Williams posted via his official social media channels on Tuesday [27 February] morning [27 February], two days after he teased that he had "signed for a football team".
That initial declaration sent the rumour mill into overdrive, with Bolt, who called time on his track career after the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, having previously trained with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund and South African Premier Division leaders Mamelodi Sundowns after revealing that he was planning a move into professional football.
Indeed, the latter's tweet on Monday [26 February] that showed a picture of the 31-year-old donning their training gear alongside the message "football will never be the same" appeared to strongly hint that they were the team in question.
'"It is my dream to make it as a professional footballer, so to be able to step out onto the pitch at Old Trafford in June, and play against some of football's biggest legends is going to be remarkable," Bolt said, per United's official website.
"I enjoy the thrill of competition in front of a crowd, so Robbie and his England team better watch out as I won't be going easy on them. I've got a pretty special celebration planned for when I score, by the way. My team is going to be unbeatable – and Soccer Aid for Unicef is counting on your support to make a difference to thousands of children around the world. Come and join in the fun."
Soccer Aid began in 2006 and includes an England team and a Soccer Aid World XI made up of a mix of ex-professional footballers, celebrities and other athletes. So far the event has raised £24m ($33.5m) for children worldwide.
In 2016, an England side led by Sam Allardyce beat Jose Mourinho's World XI 3-2 thanks to goals from Mark Wright and Jermain Defoe. Former pros included the likes of Ronaldinho, Edgar Davids, Jaap Stam, Cafu, Jamie Carragher and David Seaman, while the world of entertainment was well represented by such stars as Michael Sheen, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Olly Murs.