Bellamy attending a Cardiff City match in 2014
|Full name||Craig Douglas Bellamy|
|Date of birth||13 July 1979|
|Place of birth||Cardiff, Wales|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|2005||→ Celtic (loan)||12||(7)|
|2007–2009||West Ham United||24||(7)|
|2010–2011||→ Cardiff City (loan)||35||(11)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
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 returned to Liverpool the following season, before joining Cardiff permanently. He later led them to the Premier League, the first time they had been in the top-flight for half a century. By scoring for Cardiff, he became the first player in Premier League history to score a goal for seven different teams.
During his career, Bellamy won the Championship, the League Cup, the Scottish Cup and the Community Shield. He also was a runner-up in the FA Cup and Champions League. He was at times criticised for his behaviour on and off the pitch. Outside his career, he accumulated millions of pounds for charity and 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. 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.
Craig Douglas Bellamy was born on 19 July 1979 at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, the second of three boys born to Douglas and Angela Bellamy. At the time, the family lived on Swindon Street near the Splott district of the city. The area was considered a traditional working class environment and had been experiencing an economic downturn following the closure of the East Moor steelworks the previous year. Bellamy's father worked at the nearby Allied Steel and Wire site that overlooked the family home and his mother worked as a cleaner. With both his parents working, he spent the majority of his school holidays at the home of his paternal grandmother Mary's home in Adamsdown. At the age of five, Bellamy and his family moved further east in the city to Trowbridge.
His father was a keen football fan and supported Cardiff City and Bellamy's first experience of professional football was watching a Football League Fourth Division match between Cardiff and Newport County during the 1987–88 season. His interest in the sport grew rapidly, reglaurly attending Cardiff matches and playing in ABC Park near his home with his older brother Paul and his friends. Bellamy credits playing against older children as making him "into a better player very quickly". He joined the team at his local school Trowbridge Juniors at age seven, despite being younger than most of the other players, and played his first match against Gladstone Primary School. Local team Pentwyn Dynamos took an interest in Bellamy but were put off by his small size; his father instead offered to form a team if Bellamy could find enough players. Caer Castell FC was formed soon after with an under-10s side which included Bellamy who scored all four goals in the club's first fixture. He was later picked to represent both Cardiff Schools and a Cardiff and District side in national competition. He went on to attend Rumney High School.
At the age of 12, Bellamy was friends with a group of mostly older boys and began to regularly drink alcohol and also skipped school for periods of up to two weeks at a time. He witnessed several of his friends using cannabis and glue but never used the substances himself. He later admitted to acting as a lookout while his friends stole car stereos by breaking into the vehicles in order to sell for drug money. He described himself as "a kid who knew he was going to be a footballer and thought he knew it all" and, by age 14, he was barely attending school and was smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol everyday. In 1993, he met his future wife Claire, after being introduced by his brother Paul, and credits the relationship as being a key factor in him moving away from his early troubles.
Bristol Rovers and Norwich CityEdit
Bellamy began his footballing career as a nine-year-old at Bristol Rovers after being spotted by former professional Stan Montgomery who was working for the club. Although an hour's drive from his family home, the opportunity of improved coaching and his own playing kit proved irresistible to Bellamy. He spent two years at the club before being invited to a trial match in Somerset by Norwich City. He impressed enough to be asked to travel with the side to compete in the Dana Cup, an international youth football tournament held in Hjørring, Denmark. His performances led to a permanent place with the Canary Rangers, Norwich's youth development side. Prior to signing forms with the club, several other teams took an interest in Bellamy with Leeds United offering his parents £10,000 if he signed for them. Norwich responded by guaranteeing him a two-year YTS contract when he was old enough to sign.
At the age of 15, Bellamy moved away from the family home in Cardiff to start his youth apprenticeship with Norwich, being placed with a local family along with another apprentice. He described his first year away from home as "the hardest year of my life", reglaurly crying himself to sleep at night. Each apprentice was assigned a senior player for whom they performed basic tasks such as cleaning boots or making tea. Bellamy was paired with John Polston but found the experienced defender difficult to work with and believed Polston made attempts to "humiliate" him. His homesickness was lessened after becoming friendly with another apprentice from Cardiff, Tom Ramasut, but disciplinary issues became commonplace as he acted out. On one occasion, he received a final warning from staff after breaking the arm of a trialist goalkeeper during a fight on the training ground although he later claimed that Norwich showed him leniency during periods when he acted out. Bellamy reached a turning point in his career when his girlfriend Claire became pregnant while he was a youth player. He has credited the conception of his first child as a catalyst for his career that saw him become more determined to become a professional footballer, stating "I have had the career I have had because of that moment when Claire phoned me up to tell me she was pregnant".
He signed his first professional contract with Norwich, earning £250 a week, with the option to renegotiate once he had made 10 first team appearances. He made his professional debut for Norwich on 15 March 1997 under manager Mike Walker, as an injury-time substitute in a 2–0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the First Division. He later commented on his debut, stating "It all felt very last minute. I was wearing a kit about three sizes too big for me, I touched the ball twice, we lost 2–0 and it was over." He made two further appearances from the bench before the end of the season in fixtures against Manchester City and Oldham Athletic. He made his first career start at the start of the following season 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. During the early stages of the campaign, Bellamy played his tenth match for the first team leading to new contract negotiations. Despite an attempt by Premier League side Crystal Palace to sign him for a fee of £2 million, he ultimately chose to extend his deal with Norwich. On 1 November, he scored his first senior 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 from 38 appearances, playing mostly as a central midfielder.
As a young player, Bellamy was unafraid to voice his opinion to more senior members of the squad. His approach annoyed some teammates who sought retribution during training sessions; Bellamy later commented "one or two of them would try to clean me out with flying tackles. They wanted to bring me down a peg or two." One training session in particular left him "nearly in tears" after Kevin Scott repeatedly singled him out. He did win support from his midfield partner, the experienced Peter Grant who struck up a friendship with Bellamy. Bruce Rioch was appointed Norwich manager in 1998 and instantly moved Bellamy from central midfield to attack. The decision immediately reaped rewards with Bellamy scoring seven goals in his first eight league appearances of the campaign, including his first career hat-trick on 22 August 1998 in a 4–2 home win over Queens Park Rangers, and he was rewarded with a new five-year contract.
In December 1998, Bellamy injured his left knee following a knee-high challenge by Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Kevin Muscat that ruled him out for two months. He continued to experience soreness in the knee after his return for the remainder of the season and in a pre-season friendly prior to the following season, Bellamy ruptured his cruciate ligaments in an innocuous challenge with an opposition defender and was ruled out for between six and eight months. He made his return to the first team against Port Vale on 22 April 2000 and finished the season by scoring goals in consecutive matches against Barnsley and Sheffield United. Interest in Bellamy began to increase during the summer as Wimbledon saw an offer of £3.5 million rejected by Norwich while Newcastle United showed interest but were waiting to offload Duncan Ferguson to finance the transfer.
As Newcastle stalled over a bid, Coventry City bid a club record £6 million to sign him which was accepted by Norwich. Bellamy was reluctant to join the club, preferring a move to Newcastle but met with Coventry manager Gordon Strachan to discuss the transfer. At the time, he did not employ an agent so asked his financial advisor to attend the meeting. His advisor had recently met former footballer John Fashanu and telephoned him for advice only for Fashanu to instead arrive at the meeting unannounced. The pressure of the situation led Bellamy to agree to the move but he regretted his decision, commenting "They were persuasive. I felt undermined by the mess with Fashanu. I wanted to save face with Strachan. I felt stressed. My chest was tight because I’m asthmatic. I was struggling to breathe properly because I was so tense. I was in a state. So I did what everybody had told me not to do. I told Strachan I’d sign."
Bellamy became Coventry's record signing, joining on 16 August 2000 as a replacement for Robbie Keane. He made his Premier League debut on the opening day of the 2000–01 season in a 3–1 defeat to Middlesbrough and converted a penalty in the following game, a 2–1 victory over Southampton. However, he endured a poor start to his career with Coventry, scoring only three league goals by the start of December, two of which were penalties as the club found itself in the relegation zone.. 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. 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."
Bellamy moved to Newcastle United in July 2001 for £6.5 million. Sir Bobby Robson later wrote that he was "a great player wrapped round an unusual and volatile character." 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. On 18 December 2001, Bellamy was sent off for the first time as a Newcastle United player in a 3–1 win at Arsenal. 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. 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 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, Robson managed to persuade him to come after a lengthy discussion. Bellamy praised Robson's man management ability for his handling of the incident.
Bellamy again managed nine goals as his team reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals, eventually losing out 2–0 on aggregate to Marseille, though he also played considerably fewer games from his two previous seasons at Newcastle United, a sign of things to come, as his career was blighted by injury in the next few years.
After Robson's controversial sacking in August 2004, Bellamy had a very public falling-out with his replacement as Newcastle manager, Graeme Souness. 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, 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. Minutes later, Bellamy gave an interview saying he was prepared to play in any position for his club. However, with his Newcastle 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.
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.
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. 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. 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."
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.
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 major career trophy after his team beat Dundee United, this time 1–0 at Hampden Park.
Bellamy was racially abused by a Hearts supporter in April 2005. The 2004–05 season was the most successful of his career, as he won that Scottish Cup winner's medal as well as scoring 22 goals altogether for Newcastle, Celtic and Wales.
Bellamy's club and international strike partner John Hartson wanted him to make his transfer permanent, saying "He'll never get the adulation he receives here anywhere else, even if he were to sign for Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal". 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.
Bellamy signed a four-year contract with Blackburn Rovers on 8 July 2005, where he was reunited with former Wales manager and teammate Mark Hughes. The transfer fee was undisclosed. 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.
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.
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.
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 teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club during a team training session in Portugal. He was fined two weeks wages by the club. The incident earned him the nickname "The Nutter with the Putter". Manager Rafael Benítez accepted the players' apology. In the first match following the incident, away at Barcelona in a Champions League last-16 round first leg, Bellamy celebrated his goal to make it 1–1, after Deco had headed Barça into the lead, by emulating a golf stroke. He also set up the other goal 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.
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.
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 UnitedEdit
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.
Bellamy made his West Ham debut in an opening day 2–0 home defeat by Manchester City on 11 August 2007. His first two goals for West Ham were scored in a 2–1 League Cup victory against Bristol Rovers on 28 August 2007. 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.
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 over 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, 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.
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. In total, Bellamy made 26 appearances for the Hammers, scoring nine goals, a strike rate of just over a goal every three games.
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 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." This took his career total of transfers to £47m. 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. 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. 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. 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, however Manchester City stated they would not discipline Bellamy, instead offering their support to him.
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.
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.
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. On 11 August 2010, he was left out of Manchester City's 23-man Europa League squad to face Timisoara. 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".
Cardiff City loanEdit
On 17 August 2010, Bellamy signed for his hometown club, Cardiff City on a season-long loan from Manchester City. The deal kept him at the club until the end of the 2010–11 season. Cardiff manager Dave Jones confirmed that Bellamy would become team captain for the season with former captain Mark Hudson named club captain. 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. 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. 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.
Bellamy played a huge part in Cardiff's end of season push for promotion to the Premier League, creating numerous chances for teammates 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. 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. 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. Bellamy asked Manchester City to let him go on a free transfer after they put a £4,000,000 price tag on him.
Return to LiverpoolEdit
On transfer deadline day, 31 August 2011, Bellamy returned to Liverpool on a free transfer and took the number 39 shirt. The following day, boyhood club Cardiff City revealed that they had failed in a last minute bid for the striker. 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."
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.
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, 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.
Return to Cardiff CityEdit
New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed that talks were taking place with Cardiff City and Bellamy over a possible transfer. On 10 August 2012, Bellamy completed his free transfer to Cardiff City on a two-year deal. He made his first appearance in Cardiff's new home colours on 17 August in a 1–0 win against Huddersfield Town. 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". 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 50th 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.
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. He played 22 league games during the season, but did not score another goal.
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".
Bellamy represented Wales at several youth levels before being called up to the under-21 side for the first time at the age of 16 for a fixture against San Marino. He made his debut in the match as a substitute, becoming the youngest ever player to represent the side in doing so.
Bellamy was brought to the senior Wales squad for the first time in 1998 by manager Bobby Gould. He made his international debut on 25 March 1998 at the age of 18, in a friendly game against Jamaica at Ninian Park as a substitute in place of Gareth Taylor. He scored his first goal for his country in his second appearance 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.
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. 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. In June 2007, Ryan Giggs announced his retirement from international football which resulted in Bellamy being named permanent captain by Toshack. 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. Bellamy stood down as Wales captain on 6 January 2011 due to knee injuries. He announced that he would retire from international football after Wales' final 2014 World Cup qualifiers in October 2013.
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.
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. The result saw Great Britain progress to a quarter final with the Republic of Korea.
On 30 December 2014 Bellamy returned to Cardiff as an academy coach. Having earlier been interviewed for the opportunity to become the new Wales manager, he was given permission to apply for the vacant managerial position at EFL League One club Oxford United in February 2018. He agreed terms with the U's but later withdrew his application. He stepped down from his coaching role at Cardiff City in January 2019 in order to defend himself against a claim of bullying of a youth team player.
Bellamy met Claire Jansen while the pair were teenagers in Cardiff. Bellamy and Jansen had their first child together, a son named Ellis, at the age of 17 and 16 respectively, being born at the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff. The pair married in June 2006 at St Bride's Church in the village of St. Brides-super-Ely, near Cardiff. The couple have three children; two sons Ellis and Cameron, and daughter Lexi. 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.
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.
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.
- On 15 February 2007, Bellamy confronted his Liverpool teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club.
- On 22 September 2009, during a game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Bellamy clashed with a pitch invader.
- 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. He later received a caution for common assault.
Craig Bellamy FoundationEdit
On 6 May 2008, plans were announced for the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone. Bellamy first visited the formerly war-torn West African country in 2007 and has subsequently invested £1.4m of his own money 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 the Craig Bellamy Foundation hopes to produce well-rounded young men with bright futures both on and off the pitch.
As well as the Academy, the Craig Bellamy Foundation runs a nationwide youth league that was founded in conjunction with UNICEF. 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. 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. In 2009, 1,600 boys aged between 11 and 14 played or trained on a daily basis in a league supported by Bellamy's foundation. 
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Norwich City||1996–97||First Division||3||0||0||0||0||0||—||3||0|
|Norwich City total||84||32||1||0||6||2||0||0||91||34|
|Coventry City||2000–01||Premier League||34||6||2||1||3||1||—||39||8|
|Newcastle United||2001–02||Premier League||27||9||3||0||3||4||6[a]||1||39||14|
|Newcastle United total||93||28||5||0||5||4||25||11||128||43|
|Celtic (loan)||2004–05||Scottish Premier League||12||7||3||2||0||0||—||15||9|
|Blackburn Rovers||2005–06||Premier League||27||13||1||2||4||2||—||32||17|
|West Ham United||2007–08||Premier League||8||2||0||0||1||2||—||9||4|
|West Ham United total||24||7||1||0||1||2||0||0||26||9|
|Manchester City||2008–09||Premier League||8||2||0||0||0||0||3[d]||2||11||4|
|Manchester City total||40||12||3||1||5||0||3||2||51||15|
|Cardiff City (loan)||2010–11||Championship||35||11||0||0||0||0||—||35||11|
|Cardiff City total||90||17||0||0||0||0||0||0||90||17|
Wales international goals
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