In November 2016, eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt retired from athletics to undertake a career in football. Many within the sport rolled their eyes at the potential career change. However, fans of Pro Evo and FIFA weren’t so cynical. The fastest man on the planet added to your MyClub or Ultimate Team squad? “Yes please”, was the widespread response.
Cunningly, Konami rode this wave of public opinion and signed Bolt up as an ambassador for PES 2018. (Hence the above screenshot.) However, he’s not in PES 2019, which has led some to believe that a FIFA 19 appearance is coming at some point. That hasn’t happened yet though. When will it? Read on to find out everything we know…
- FIFA 19 tips – essential FIFA 19 tips to know before you play
- FIFA 19 career mode guide – negotiate contracts and successfully scout
- FIFA 19 The Journey rewards – what do you get for finishing each chapter?
Can I play as Usain Bolt in FIFA 19?
As mentioned above, not yet. With a handful of exceptions – such as Icons in Ultimate Team – EA’s contracts only cover players officially registered with clubs featured in the game. Usain Bolt famously scored on his debut for Australian team Central Coast Mariners in October, but the match was a friendly against minor-league opposition. And weeks later, at the outset of November 2018, he left the team without a deal. That puts us back at square one as far as his FIFA 19 debut is concerned.
When will Usain Bolt be added to FIFA 19?
Most likely within a few weeks of him signing that elusive pro contract, although Bolt's image rights may be an issue. (I’ll get to why shortly.) Central Coast Mariners say the door may still be open to him returning on a full-time deal. "We weren't able to come to an agreement in terms," explained CEO Shaun Mielekamp to CNN," but we're going to keep trying to work together and keep communication, and you never say never."
Central Coast aren’t the only team known to have an interest in Bolt; Maltese champions Valetta also offered him a deal, but his agent says it’s an opportunity he “does not wish to pursue”. That should be a relief to FIFA 19 fans. Malta’s Premier League has no deal with EA, and so Bolt relocating to the island nation would keep him in no-man’s-land from a videogame perspective.
A major issue is time. Bolt says he'll give up his footballing dream if he hasn't found a club before the Christmas period gets underway. "I've got a lot of offers from a lot of other clubs out there," Bolt told Omnisport. "We'll make a decision before the end of November if I'm going to go to another club or call it quits."
Will Usain Bolt be scanned for FIFA 19?
This is an interesting one, and possible setback if and when Bolt does sign a pro deal. There’s no way EA would want him in the game with a generic likeness, but also no chance he’s been scanned in the past given his exclusive deal with Konami last year. If he signed for Wigan Athletic tomorrow, would he want additional money for his videogame image rights? You’d imagine so. Would EA pay that money? Possibly, but not if it’s in the seven-figure range. I predict that he will be scanned eventually, but there will be a hold-up in doing so which may mean we have to wait until well into 2019 – if indeed he ever does sign a pro contract.
What will Usain Bolt’s FIFA 19 attributes be?
Good question. Perth Glory striker Andy Keogh describes Bolt as having the “first touch of a trampoline”. Meanwhile, the existing Central Coast squad, largely considered superior footballers to the Olympian, features only two players rated 70 or higher: former Leeds striker Ross McCormack and Dutch midfielder Tom Hiariej. So it would be unrealistic for Bolt to match his PES 2018 overall rating of 75 if he were to return to Oz.
However, Bolt is more marketable than most other second- or third-tier footballers, and so some ‘embellishment’ of his abilities to make him feel like a must-own Ultimate Team card is likely – perhaps an overall of 68 or 69 and ‘rare silver’ card status. Like in PES, he’ll surely have speed and acceleration stats of 99, which in itself would make him a highly sought-after FUT item.
Has Usain Bolt’s FIFA 19 Ultimate Team card been leaked?
There’ve been many rumours to that effect, with Fox Sports Asia apparently confirming that his card has been prepared. “If Usain is picked up by the Central Coast Mariners then he will automatically be included in the winter update or next major update,” the publication claims to have been told by an EA Sports source. “But if he isn’t listed then he might be included as a free agent. He will also be the fastest player in the game.” However, I’ve looked into this in detail and can say with some authority that all ‘leaked’ cards so far are fakes. Bolt the Olympian athlete currently has as many authentic Ultimate Team items as Bolt the Disney dog. Sorry.
FIFA 19 is out now. Want to boost your FUT Team balance in preparation for Bolt’s eventual arrival? Then check out our guide to making FIFA 19 Ultimate Team coins.