Borussia Dortmund 'proud' to have Usain Bolt in training sessions
DORTMUND - Usain Bolt will get "a realistic assessment" of his chances of playing football professionally during his two-day trial at Borussia Dortmund, the club's sales & marketing executive, Carsten Cramer, told ESPN FC.
Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the 100 metres, trained with Dortmund on Thursday, and will also participate in a public session on Friday.
It has been criticised as a marketing stunt by Puma, who are Dortmund shareholders and kit supplier as well as the sprinter's sponsor, but Cramer said there was more to it -- and Dortmund were "proud" he had chosen to train with them.
"He won't only juggle the ball three times and that is that," Cramer said. "He really wants it, and he will get a realistic assessment where he's at.
"It's been in the making for almost two years, and certainly also down to Usain Bolt's good relationship with our board member [and Puma CEO] Bjorn Gulden. Puma surely plays a role. But there is more: He always wanted it, was injured in between and then there was the Olympics."
Earlier this week, the Jamaican sprinter told ESPN FC that his time with Dortmund will decide "if I continue or if I say, 'You know what? I'm probably not good enough.'"
Dortmund currently are third in Bundesliga, and are one of five teams competing for the three remaining Champions League spots behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich. And Cramer said that sporting merit must come first.
"It had to fit. We were not able to integrate such a visit into a normal training week. During this international break, it fits for everyone," Cramer said. "He's taking this very seriously, and we are indeed a bit proud that he's chosen us of all clubs."
Bolt's public training session will be broadcast live on Dortmund's social media channels.
"Others would make the shopping window as big as possible. We are doing it a bit more discreet," Cramer said. "He's not training in the stadium, he's training at the training grounds, and even behind closed doors on his first day. And in the youth stadium on his second day."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.