Craig Bellamy

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For the rugby league football coach and former player, see Craig Bellamy (rugby league).
Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy 2013.jpg
Bellamy playing for Cardiff City in 2013
Personal information
Full name Craig Douglas Bellamy[1]
Date of birth (1979-07-13) 13 July 1979 (age 35)[1]
Place of birth Cardiff, Wales
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1988–1990 Bristol Rovers
1990–1996 Norwich City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–2000 Norwich City 84 (32)
2000–2001 Coventry City 34 (6)
2001–2005 Newcastle United 93 (28)
2005 Celtic (loan) 12 (7)
2005–2006 Blackburn Rovers 27 (13)
2006–2007 Liverpool 27 (7)
2007–2009 West Ham United 24 (7)
2009–2011 Manchester City 40 (12)
2010–2011 Cardiff City (loan) 35 (11)
2011–2012 Liverpool 24 (6)
2012–2014 Cardiff City 55 (6)
Total 455 (135)
National team
Wales U18 9 (6)
1997–1998 Wales U21 8 (1)
1998–2013 Wales 78 (19)
2012 Great Britain 5 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 May 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 October 2013

Craig Douglas Bellamy (born 13 July 1979) is a former Welsh footballer.

Born in Cardiff, Bellamy began his career with Norwich City. He went on to play for Coventry City and Newcastle United, before spending half a season on loan at Celtic in 2005. He returned to the Premier League later that year, playing for Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, West Ham United and Manchester City.

For the 2010–11 season, Bellamy dropped down a division to the Championship in order to represent his boyhood club, Cardiff City, on a season-long loan. He moved to play at former club Liverpool the following season, before returning to Cardiff permanently. He later led Cardiff to the Premier League, the first time they had been in the top-flight for half a century.

During his career, Bellamy has won the Championship, the League Cup, the Scottish Cup and the Community Shield. He also has been a runner-up in the FA Cup and Champions League. He has been criticised for his behaviour on and off the pitch, but has accumulated millions of pounds for charity and also established a football academy in Sierra Leone.

He made his senior debut for Wales in 1998 and over the next fifteen years gained 78 caps for his country and scored 19 goals. He was the Wales captain from 2007 to 2011, when he stepped down from the role due to injuries.[3] Bellamy retired from international football, following the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign. He was also a member of the Great Britain Olympic team at the 2012 Olympics in London, appearing five times and scoring once.

On 1 February 2014 Bellamy scored his first Premier League Goal for Cardiff, thus becoming the first player in Premier League history to score for seven different clubs.

Club career[edit]

Bristol Rovers and Norwich City[edit]

Bellamy began his footballing career as a nine-year-old at Bristol Rovers, and spent two years at the club before being brought into the youth system of Norwich City.[4]

He made his professional debut for Norwich on 15 March 1997, as an injury-time substitute in a 2–0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the First Division, and made two further appearances off the bench before the end of the season.[5]

He made his first career start in the League Cup first round against Barnet on 12 August 1997, and started in the league for the first time on 20 September against Manchester City. On 1 November, he scored his first goal, the opener in a 2–2 home draw with Bury. Bellamy earned his first career red card on 7 February 1998, a straight red in the 23rd minute against Manchester City, but finished his first full season with 13 goals.[6]

Bellamy's first hat-trick in his career was scored on 22 August 1998, in a 4–2 home win over Queens Park Rangers.[7] In December 1998, Bellamy injured his left knee following a challenge by Wolves defender Kevin Muscat and was ruled out for two months.[8] He tore the cruciate ligaments on the same knee during a pre-season match in the summer of 1999 and missed most of the 1999–2000 season.[9] He made his return to the first team against Port Vale on 22 April 2000 and scored in the next match against Barnsley.[10]

Coventry City[edit]

Bellamy became Coventry's record signing, joining for £6 million on 16 August 2000 as a replacement for Robbie Keane.[11] Amid strong interest from Newcastle United, he signed for the club after being impressed by manager Gordon Strachan.[12] He had a poor start to his career with Coventry, scoring only three league goals by the start of December, two of which were penalties. On 10 December 2000, he scored the winning goal in a 1–0 victory over Leicester City to gain his side a crucial three points. Bellamy's form improved after the arrival of his Wales strike partner John Hartson.[13] However, Coventry were relegated at the end of the 2000–01 season as the team finished 19th in the Premier League, ending 34 consecutive years in the English top flight. Bellamy ended his only season at the club with eight goals from 39 appearances.

After leaving the club Bellamy was quoted as saying "I never once enjoyed it at Coventry. I felt quite demoralised. I had enjoyed myself so much at Norwich – but I found I had taken a backward step."[14]

Newcastle United[edit]

Bellamy moved to Newcastle United in July 2001 for £6.5 million.[15] Sir Bobby Robson later wrote that he was "a great player wrapped round an unusual and volatile character."[16] His Newcastle career got off to a flying start as he scored on his home debut in their 1–0 win over Belgian side Lokeren in the Intertoto Cup in July.

Bellamy scored his first Premier League goal for Newcastle in the Tyne–Wear derby 1–1 draw against Sunderland at St James' Park on 28 August 2001, making him an instant crowd favourite.[17] On 18 December 2001, Bellamy was sent off for the first time as a Newcastle United player in a 3–1 win at Arsenal.[18] Under manager Bobby Robson he formed a very productive striking partnership with Alan Shearer, Bellamy's pace complementing the former England captain's guile. At the end of his first season, Bellamy had scored 14 goals for the Magpies, and was awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

During his second season Bellamy also made his UEFA Champions League debut. On 13 November 2002, he scored two goals, including a 90th minute winner, in a 3–2 win over Feyenoord, which took Newcastle through to the second group stage of the tournament.[19] In the next match, a 4–1 home defeat to Internazionale, he was sent off for kicking out at Inter defender Marco Materazzi, which resulted in a three-match ban.

In March 2004, he reportedly threw a chair at then first-team coach John Carver after a public falling out between the two. The altercation occurred with the club on the way to play a UEFA Cup fixture with Real Mallorca and Bellamy refused to travel. However, Sir Bobby Robson managed to persuade him to come after a lengthy discussion. Bellamy praised Robson's man management abiity for his handling of the incident.[20][21]

Bellamy again managed nine goals as his team reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals, eventually losing out 2–0 on aggregate to Olympique Marseille, though he also played considerably fewer games from his two previous seasons at Newcastle United, a sign of things to come, as Bellamy's career was blighted by injury in the next few years.[22]

After Bobby Robson's controversial sacking in August 2004, Bellamy had a very public falling-out with his replacement as Newcastle manager, Graeme Souness, who also had altercations with stars including Laurent Robert and Olivier Bernard.[citation needed] Despite the two claiming that the rift had been healed after Bellamy scored a last-minute winner in a 4–3 victory over Manchester City in late October, it was announced on 23 January 2005 that the player had been omitted from the team for a Premier League match with Arsenal at Highbury stadium, a game that ended 1–0 in the Gunners' favour.

Before the match against Arsenal, Souness said that Bellamy had been left out due to a hamstring problem, but contradicted himself in a post-match interview, claiming that Bellamy was benched for being unwilling to play as a right-sided midfielder.[23] Minutes later, Bellamy gave an interview saying he was prepared to play in any position for his club. However, with his Newcastle United career hanging in the balance, he later admitted that he had threatened to fake injury ahead of the Arsenal match, though in a later interview accused Souness of lying about him and his commitment to the club.[24]

Souness responded by stating that Bellamy would never play in a Newcastle United shirt again while he was manager and consequently the club fined Bellamy two weeks' wages (about £80,000). Bellamy's last goal for the club came in a UEFA Cup group stage match against Sporting CP in December, in a 1–1 draw at St. James Park, his 10th goal for Newcastle that season. Bellamy ended his Newcastle career with a total of 42 goals from 128 appearances.[25]

Bellamy made himself further unwelcome at St James' Park when some abusive text messages were allegedly sent from his phone to club captain Alan Shearer after Newcastle's FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester United in April 2005, while the player was still on-loan to Celtic for the remainder of that season.[26] At the time, Bellamy was with the Celtic squad in Ireland for Jackie McNamara's testimonial golf day. Bellamy's agent insisted his mobile had been lost at the time and that he was not responsible for the texts.[citation needed] Kenneth Shepherd, son of Newcastle chairman Freddy, also claimed he received gloating text messages. Shearer was alleged to have threatened to "knock his block off" should the player have returned to Newcastle United.[27]

Celtic loan[edit]

On 31 January 2005 (transfer deadline day) Bellamy was sent out on loan to Celtic of the Scottish Premier League for the remainder of the season. It was later announced by the player that he had shunned a move to Birmingham City to move to the Scottish club.[28]

He scored nine goals for Celtic in the remainder of the 2004–05 season, getting his first in a 5–0 win against then Scottish First Division side Clyde in the Scottish Cup on 27 February 2005. He also put in notable performances away to Dundee United, a game in which he scored a hat-trick in a 3–2 victory for the Bhoys, and a 2–1 victory over fierce old-firm rivals Rangers at Ibrox, where he scored the opener in a crucial game for his club. He ultimately lost out on winning the SPL as Celtic suffered a 2–1 defeat to Motherwell on the final day of the season. He did end the season on a personal high though, as he won the Scottish Cup, his first ever major career trophy after his team beat Dundee United, this time 1–0 at Hampden Park.

The Glasgow club were keen to sign Bellamy permanently, but on 7 July 2005 it was announced that he was to return to the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers for a transfer fee believed to be around £5 million. It had been reported that Bellamy was keen on a return to Celtic after his departure from Newcastle United,[citation needed] however a move back north wasn't to be.

Despite the controversy, that 2004–05 season proved to be Bellamy's most fruitful to date, as he won that Scottish Cup winner's medal as well as scoring 22 goals altogether for Newcastle, Celtic and Wales.

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

Bellamy signed a four-year contract with Blackburn Rovers on 8 July 2005, where he was reunited with former Wales manager and team-mate Mark Hughes. The transfer fee was undisclosed.[29] He scored 17 goals for Rovers in 2005–06 (including two against Portsmouth at Fratton Park on 8 April 2006) in all competitions, in a highly successful but injury-tempered season, where the club finished in sixth place in the Premier League, marking a vast improvement on the previous seasons 15th position, qualifying for the 2006–07 UEFA Cup in the process. His efforts were rewarded with the club's inaugural Player of the Year award, as voted for by the fans.[30]

Bellamy was a core part of the Blackburn team, alongside goalkeeper Brad Friedel, defender Ryan Nelsen and midfielders Robbie Savage, Brett Emerton, Steven Reid and Morten Gamst Pedersen. Bellamy's rejuvenation sparked renewed interest in him from a handful of top clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal.[citation needed]

Liverpool[edit]

On 20 June 2006 Bellamy was the subject of a transfer bid from Liverpool, reportedly in the region of £6 million, triggering a clause in his contract that obliged Blackburn to allow him permission to talk to the club.[31]

He officially became a Liverpool player on 1 July 2006. Bellamy got off to a slow start for Liverpool, despite scoring on his debut against Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League 3rd qualifying round first leg on 9 August 2006, Bellamy however struggled for Premier League goals, eventually scoring his first in mid October, against former club Blackburn Rovers. After the match against Haifa, Bellamy set up the winner for Peter Crouch in the 81st minute of the 2006 FA Community Shield with a great cross from the left-hand corner of the 18-yard box. Bellamy finally made an impact for Liverpool, against Wigan Athletic, inspiring the Reds to a 4–0 victory with two goals and one assist, on 2 December 2006. It was his first game after being cleared of supposedly assaulting a woman in a Cardiff bar.

Bellamy scored again two weeks later against Charlton Athletic and then got a fourth in four games against Watford on 23 December 2006, followed by another goal on 13 January 2007 also against Watford to bring his season tally for Liverpool up to seven.

In February 2007 it was alleged that Bellamy attacked team mate John Arne Riise with a golf club during a team training session in Portugal.[32] Both players were fined two weeks wages by the club.[33] The incident earned him the nickname "The Nutter with the Putter".[34] Manager Rafael Benítez accepted the players' apology.[35] In the first match following the incident, away at Barcelona in a Champions League last-16 round first leg, Bellamy celebrated his 1–1 equaliser, after Deco had headed Barça into the lead, by emulating a golf stroke. He also set up the other goal, almost inevitably, for John Arne Riise.

It was reported that Bellamy had announced to football results television programme "Wales on Saturday" on 28 April 2007 that he would leave Liverpool in the summer 2007 transfer window. His supposed given reasons were lack of communication with Benítez and conflicting opinions on how Bellamy could be best utilised.[citation needed]

The next day, Bellamy angrily dismissed this story on the club's official website. He said that he was disappointed that he had to deal with this issue while preparing for such as big a match as the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea. Bellamy reassured the fans that he was 100% committed to the club. He even stated that Benítez was the manager he had admired most during his career and wishes to emulate Benitez if he ever chooses to pursue a career in football management.[36]

Liverpool went on to win the semi-final against Chelsea, and while on the sidelines, Bellamy could be seen talking to Benítez, and their relationship seemed to look fine. He was, however, left on the bench as an unused substitute in the 2007 UEFA Champions League Final, as Liverpool lost 2–1 to A.C. Milan.

In the summer of 2007, Bellamy was the subject of a bid from West Ham United. The bid was accepted and Bellamy was on the move again after signing for the London club.

West Ham United[edit]

Bellamy completed a move to West Ham United for a fee of £7.5 million on 10 July 2007, signing a five-year contract with the club and reuniting with former Norwich teammate Robert Green. This was at their record signing at the time.[37]

Bellamy made his West Ham debut in an opening day 2–0 home defeat by Manchester City on 11 August 2007.[38] His first two goals for West Ham were scored in a 2–1 League Cup victory against Bristol Rovers on 28 August 2007.[39] Injury blighted Bellamy's first season with West Ham. He managed only nine games, scoring four goals and in February 2008 was ruled out of action until the beginning of season 2008–09. His only goals for the club in 2007–08 were the brace against Rovers, the opener against Reading in early September and the opener against Middlesbrough a week later. Both matches finished 3–0 to the Hammers.[40]

Bellamy returned to action in the third game of the 2008–09 season for West Ham, scoring the third goal in a 4–1 win overt Blackburn Rovers. It was his first goal in six months but his fifth goal for the Hammers in only his 10th appearance for the club since joining in July 2007.

After a string of impressive performances, Bellamy was reported to have attracted the attention of several clubs, and in the 2009 January transfer window he was linked to a host of clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. His manager Gianfranco Zola was reportedly unhappy with the way he felt Tottenham had tried to approach Bellamy,[41] although he denied reports that Bellamy had gone on strike in protest at not being allowed to move – after Bellamy stormed out of training in protest.[42]

Two offers from Manchester City were rejected before on 18 January 2009, a third undisclosed bid, purported to be around £14 million was accepted by West Ham from City.[43] In total, Bellamy made 26 appearances for the Hammers, scoring nine goals, a strike rate of just over a goal every three games.

Manchester City[edit]

On 19 January 2009, Bellamy completed his move to Manchester City on a four-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £14 million[44] On signing for the club his new manager Mark Hughes stated, "I'm sure Craig will be excellent for us, I think people will soon see why I wanted to bring him to the club. The fee that gets mentioned is invariably the wrong figure, it keeps being quoted as £19million, but that was not the price we paid for him."[45] This took his career total of transfers to £47m.[46] Bellamy became the second major signing by Manchester City of the transfer window after Wayne Bridge from Chelsea.

Bellamy marked his debut for City on 28 January with the winning goal in a 2–1 win against his former club Newcastle United at the City of Manchester Stadium, making him only the fifth player in Premier League history to have scored for six different top-flight clubs.[47] Bellamy's next goal came against Middlesbrough in the Premier League where Bellamy sealed the three points in a 1–0 win for City. On 22 February 2009, he scored against his former club Liverpool at Anfield in a 1–1 draw, ironically denting his former employers title chances. He went on to score a brace for City on his European home debut just four days later on 26 February, dedicating the goals to his cousin who had died the previous night.

Bellamy opened his account for the 2009–10 season with a goal in City's 4–2 win over Arsenal on 12 September 2009, before setting up Shaun Wright-Phillips for City's 4th goal, with a brilliant run from his own half.[48] He followed that up a week later with two goals against Manchester United in a 4–3 derby defeat. His first was a brilliant 20-yard strike from the edge of the 18-yard box, his second came after Rio Ferdinand gifted possession to Martin Petrov, who played the ball through to Bellamy who rounded United keeper Ben Foster, to make the score 3–3 in the first minute of injury-time. The former goal was later named Goal of the Month for September 2009.[49] After the match a fan invaded the pitch but was dealt with by stewards quickly. While the fan was being escorted from the field, TV footage showed that Bellamy slapped the fan in the face. He was given a warning by the FA about his future conduct,[50] however Manchester City stated they would not discipline Bellamy, instead offering their support to him.[51]

As he became ever more popular with the Manchester City fans, Bellamy's next goal came at Villa Park on 5 October 2009, earning a point for his team after being 1–0 down at half-time. On 7 November 2009, Bellamy scored in a 3–3 draw against Burnley at the City of Manchester Stadium. He then scored again on 19 December against Sunderland in the 4–3 victory, which turned out to be Mark Hughes' last game in charge of the club. Bellamy was said to be upset at Hughes' dismissal, and was subsequently linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Arsenal. He was dropped to the bench in Roberto Mancini's first game in charge against Stoke City.[52]

However, Bellamy did play in matches under Mancini and made clear his desire to stay at Manchester City for the foreseeable future. He scored the equaliser against Stoke City, before losing 3–1 in Fifth round replay of the FA Cup. Bellamy then scored two goals at Stamford Bridge in the 4–2 win against Chelsea, giving Manchester City their first win at Stamford Bridge in 17 years.[53]

In August 2010, Bellamy stated that he feared that he would be omitted from Manchester City's 25-man squad for the 2010-11 Premier League season and even hinted at retirement.[54] On 11 August 2010, he was left out of Manchester City's 23-man Europa League squad to face Timisoara.[55] The next week Bellamy was allowed to train with Cardiff City, fuelling speculation that he might sign for his hometown club. When asked about such a move, Bellamy said that he would "love to play for Cardiff".[56]

Cardiff City loan[edit]

On 17 August 2010, Bellamy signed for his hometown club, Cardiff City on a season-long loan from Manchester City.[57] The deal kept him at the club until the end of the 2010–11 season.[58] Cardiff manager Dave Jones confirmed that Bellamy would become team captain for the season with former captain Mark Hudson named club captain.[59] He made his debut for the club on 21 August in a 4–0 win over Doncaster Rovers, in which he scored from a 35-yard free kick.[60] After playing the subsequent game against Portsmouth, Bellamy missed the next five games due to a knee injury but came back and scored in a 2–1 win against Barnsley on 2 October.[61] Bellamy went on to score in four consecutive home league matches against Coventry, Leeds, Watford and Reading. Bellamy scored the winning goal in the South Wales derby against Swansea City on 6 February 2011 with a typical Bellamy long shot in the dying minutes of the match.

Craig Bellamy playing for Cardiff

Bellamy played a huge part in Cardiff's end of season push for promotion to the Premier League, creating numerous chances for team mates which led to several assists and man of the match worthy performances. His talismanic influence was particularly evident in the 2–2 draw with league leaders Queens Park Rangers in April in which he scored the second goal. However, Cardiff led twice in the game before Adel Taarabt's brace held them to a draw.[62] Automatic promotion was still a possibility if Cardiff won their remaining games in the season. However a horrendous 3–0 home defeat to Middlesbrough condemned Cardiff to settle for a 4th place finish and a play off spot for the second season running.

Bellamy scored his last goal of the season with a superbly taken volley in the 90th minute to salvage a draw away at Turf Moor against Burnley. Going into the play offs, Bellamy suffered a hamstring injury in the first leg away to Reading, which meant he had to leave the field during the first half of the game. Cardiff went on to draw the match but then failed to capture promotion after losing 3–0 to Reading in the second leg of the semi-final, with Bellamy sorely missed by the Bluebirds due to his absence with a hamstring injury.

Bellamy stated that he would like to stay at Cardiff City beyond his loan spell to achieve his dream of them one day playing in the Premier League. After Cardiff manager Dave Jones' sacking, Bellamy became a surprise favourite to take over.[63] However, the new Cardiff boss, Malky Mackay, who knew Bellamy from their days at Norwich, did not say whether he would attempt to sign Bellamy.[64] Bellamy asked Manchester City to let him go on a free transfer after they put a £4,000,000 price tag on him.[65]

Return to Liverpool[edit]

Bellamy warming up before facing Fulham while playing for Liverpool

On transfer deadline day, 31 August 2011, Bellamy returned to Liverpool on a free transfer and took the number 39 shirt.[66] The following day, boyhood club Cardiff City revealed that they had failed in a last minute bid for the striker.[67] Bellamy commented on the move "I've grown up with Kenny Dalglish, now to be signed by him is a massive honour. It's been a long couple of months, I had to be patient and believe something like this could happen."[68]

Bellamy's returning debut came against Stoke City in a 1–0 defeat at the Britannia Stadium. He scored his first goal for Liverpool following his return against Brighton & Hove Albion in the League Cup in the seventh minute of the game. He also rattled the bar from a 40-yard free kick. He scored his first league goal of his second spell on 22 October 2011 against Norwich City in a 1–1 draw. On 27 November 2011, Bellamy was withdrawn from the team for the game against Manchester City due to the death of his friend and coach Gary Speed. Two days later, he returned to the team and recorded assists for both Liverpool goals in a 2–0 win over Chelsea in the League Cup quarter-final.

On 30 December 2011, Bellamy scored two crucial goals, a low drive and a free kick, against Newcastle United at home, securing a very much needed home win for Liverpool. On 6 January 2012, Bellamy scored his 150th goal in English football, at Anfield against Oldham Athletic. On 21 January 2012, he scored against Bolton Wanderers in Liverpool's 3–1 loss. On 25 January 2012, he scored the equalising goal against Manchester City to give Liverpool a 3–2 win on aggregate in the League Cup semi-final match.[69]

On 31 January 2012, Bellamy scored his 7th consecutive goal in his last 7 starts, with Liverpool beating Wolves with a 3–0 score at the Molineux Stadium. On 26 February 2012, he won the Football League Cup final 2–2 (3–2 on penalties) against his former club Cardiff City as he came on as a second-half substitute for Jordan Henderson,[70] but did not take a penalty. On 14 April 2012, Bellamy provided the assist for Andy Carroll to score the winner as Liverpool beat rivals Everton 2–1 at Wembley, to reach their first FA Cup final in 6 years.[71]

Return to Cardiff City[edit]

Bellamy holding the trophy after Cardiff won the 2012–13 Championship

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed that talks were taking place with Cardiff City and Bellamy over a possible transfer.[72] On 10 August 2012, Bellamy completed his free transfer to Cardiff City on a two-year deal.[73] He made his first appearance in Cardiff's new home colours on 17 August in a 1–0 win against Huddersfield Town.[74] He scored his first goal back at Cardiff on 15 September with a 20-yard free kick against Leeds United, Cardiff going on to win the game 2–1. Bellamy's second goal of the season was the opener on 2 October against Birmingham City, but he suffered an ankle injury shortly after, meaning he would be out for "a couple of weeks".[75] He made his return on 17 November against Middlesbrough, coming on as a substitute, Bellamy then returned to the starting eleven following the injury against Derby County. He scored his first since returning in a 4–1 win at former club Blackburn Rovers. Bellamy celebrated his fiftieth appearance for Cardiff by scoring against promotion rivals Leicester City. On 16 April 2013, Bellamy broke down in delight on the pitch as Cardiff secured promotion to the top-flight for the first time since 1962.[76]

Bellamy scored his first goal of the 2013-14 Premier League season on 1 February 2014, netting his side's opener in a 2-1 victory over Norwich City. The goal meant that Bellamy became the first player to score for seven different clubs in the Premier League.[77] He played 22 league games during the season, but did not score another goal.[78]

Bellamy retired from football on 22 May 2014, saying "I guess over the years I've become accustomed to the pain from various injuries, but for the last three to four years I've been on anti-inflammatories every day. I'm not sure my body will think that's a wise thing in due course, but it kept me playing for that period. However, the time has come to stand aside and say enough. My body can't take anymore".[78]

International career[edit]

Wales[edit]

Bellamy playing for Wales in 2011

Bellamy made his international debut for Wales on 25 March 1998, in a friendly game against Jamaica at Ninian Park as a substitute in place of Gareth Taylor.[79] He scored his first goal for his country in his next match on 4 June 1998 during a 3–0 win over Malta. He added goals against Denmark, Norway and Argentina before, on 16 October 2002, he scored possibly his most famous goal for Wales in their Euro 2004 qualifying victory over Italy, rounding Gianluigi Buffon to score Wales' winning goal.[80][81]

In October 2006, Bellamy was awarded the captain's armband by Welsh manager John Toshack when Ryan Giggs was unavailable through injury for the Euro 2008 qualifying match against Slovakia on 7 October 2006. His captaincy got off to a poor start with a 5–1 defeat at home to the Slovaks.[82] However, just four days later, in his second game as captain against Cyprus, Wales won 3–1, with Bellamy scoring the third for his country, after setting up Robert Earnshaw for his side's second.[83] In June 2007, Ryan Giggs announced his retirement from international football which resulted in Bellamy being named permanent captain by Toshack.[84] He earned his 50th international cap in a friendly against Iceland in May 2008.

In October 2010, a 'club v country' row emerged as Bellamy played a full match for Cardiff City, despite his manager Dave Jones claiming Bellamy was too injured to play for Wales.[85] Bellamy stood down as Wales captain on 6 January 2011 due to knee injuries.[86] He announced that he would retire from international football after Wales' final 2014 World Cup qualifiers in October 2013.[87]

Bellamy is the fifth highest goalscorer in Wales' history, behind Ian Rush, Trevor Ford, Ivor Allchurch and Dean Saunders.

Bellamy retired from international football after Wales ended their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign. He finished with 78 caps and 19 goals for his country.

Great Britain[edit]

On 28 June 2012, Bellamy was confirmed as one of the three over-aged players selected for Great Britain to compete at 2012 Summer Olympics alongside Micah Richards and Ryan Giggs.[88]

On 26 July 2012, Bellamy scored Great Britain's first goal at an Olympic Games since 1960 in a 1–1 draw with Senegal.[89]

On 1 August 2012, Bellamy captained Great Britain to a 1–0 victory over Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium in his home city of Cardiff.[90] The result saw Great Britain progress to a quarter final with the Republic of Korea.

Personal life[edit]

Bellamy was raised on Menai Way, Trowbridge, Cardiff, where his family still live today. He attended Baden Powell Primary School, Trowbridge Junior School and Rumney High School.[91] He played football at a junior level for Caer Castell FC, where his father was manager. He has described himself as a "keen" supporter of both Liverpool and his hometown club Cardiff City.[92]

Bellamy married his teenage sweetheart Claire Jansen in June 2006 at St Bride's Church in the village of St Bride's-super-Ely, near Cardiff.[93] The couple have three children; two sons Ellis and Cameron, and daughter Lexi. Ellis is currently a member of the youth development system at Cardiff City.[94][95] Prior to his move to Cardiff City, Bellamy lived in Manchester for most of the week, while his wife and children lived in the family home in Peterston-super-Ely in South Wales. The couple divorced in December 2012.[96]

In March 2012 Ellis Bellamy was selected for the Wales Under-16 squad.[97]

Bellamy is an advocate supporter of mixed martial arts, having sponsored some of the fighters who train at Tillery Combat, based in Abertillery in Wales, providing them with supplements, kit and management advice through his Shin2Chin company. Some of the fighters based at the gym includes former BAMMA British champion Jack Marshman and Cage Warriors title contender Martin McDonough. He also owns Cardiff Combat MMA gym, based in Cardiff.[98]

Alleged violence[edit]

Although Bellamy had never been convicted of assault, he was alleged to have been involved in several violent incidents.

  • On 29 November 2006, after a trial lasting five days, a court cleared him of assaulting two women in Cardiff.[99]
  • On 1 March 2007, Bellamy confronted then-Liverpool team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club.[100]
  • On 22 September 2009, during a game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Bellamy clashed with a pitch invader.[101]
  • On 12 January 2011, Bellamy was arrested on Caroline Street, Cardiff, and bailed on an alleged assault claim, in which two men suffered facial injuries.[102]

Craig Bellamy Foundation[edit]

On 6 May 2008 plans were announced for the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone.[103] Bellamy first visited the formerly war-torn West African country in 2007 and has subsequently invested £1.4m of his own money[104] to build a not-for-profit football academy in the Western Area Rural District village of Tombo where 32 boys receive an international standard education and elite-level football coaching for free. By positioning football alongside education[105] the Craig Bellamy Foundation hopes to produce well-rounded young men with bright futures both on and off the pitch.[106]

As well as the Academy, the Craig Bellamy Foundation runs a nationwide youth league that was founded in conjunction with UNICEF.[107] Operating in the Freetown, Bo, Kenema and Makeni regions, the Craig Bellamy Foundation League not only provides an effective national youth football framework for both boys and girls that was previously absent, but is structured in such a way that points are awarded for school attendance, fair play and contribution to community projects as well as performances on the pitch.[108] The League also funds the school fees of every participating child and provides employment for 175 Sierra Leonian team coaches, regional managers and league coordinators.[109]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 11 May 2014
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Norwich City 1996–97[5] First Division 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
1997–98[6] First Division 36 13 1 0 1 0 38 13
1998–99[7] First Division 40 17 0 0 5 2 45 19
1999–2000[110] First Division 4 2 0 0 0 0 4 2
2000–01[111] First Division 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Norwich City total 84 32 1 0 6 2 0 0 91 34
Coventry City 2000–01[111] Premier League 34 6 2 1 3 1 39 8
Newcastle United 2001–02[112] Premier League 27 9 3 0 3 4 6[a] 1 39 14
2002–03[113] Premier League 29 7 1 0 0 0 6[b] 2 36 9
2003–04[114] Premier League 16 5 0 0 0 0 8[c] 5 24 10
2004–05[115] Premier League 21 7 1 0 2 0 5[d] 3 29 10
Newcastle United total 93 28 5 0 5 4 25 11 128 43
Celtic (loan) 2004–05[115] Scottish Premier League 12 7 3 2 0 0 15 9
Blackburn Rovers 2005–06[116] Premier League 27 13 1 2 4 2 32 17
Liverpool 2006–07[117] Premier League 27 7 0 0 2 0 12[b] 2 41 9
West Ham United 2007–08[118] Premier League 8 2 0 0 1 2 9 4
2008–09[119] Premier League 16 5 1 0 0 0 17 5
West Ham United total 24 7 1 0 1 2 0 0 26 9
Manchester City 2008–09[119] Premier League 8 2 0 0 0 0 3[d] 2 11 4
2009–10[120] Premier League 32 10 3 1 5 0 40 11
Manchester City total 40 12 3 1 5 0 3 2 51 15
Cardiff City (loan) 2010–11[121] Championship 35 11 0 0 0 0 35 11
Liverpool 2011–12[122] Premier League 24 6 3 1 6 2 33 9
Cardiff City 2012–13[123] Championship 33 4 0 0 0 0 33 4
2013–14[124] Premier League 22 2 0 0 0 0 22 2
Cardiff City total 90 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 90 17
Career total 455 135 19 7 32 13 40 15 546 170
  1. ^ Appearances in UEFA Intertoto Cup
  2. ^ a b Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  3. ^ One appearance in Champions League, seven appearances and five goals in UEFA Cup
  4. ^ a b Appearances in UEFA Cup

International[edit]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Celtic
Liverpool
Cardiff City

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

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Bibliography

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ryan Giggs
Captain of Wales National Team
2007–2011
Succeeded by
Aaron Ramsey