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Craig Douglas Bellamy (born 13 July 1979) is a Welshmarker international football. He currently plays for Manchester City in the F.A.Premier League. He has previously played for a number of sides in Englandmarker as well as a spell in Scotlandmarker since making his debut for Norwich City in 1997. He is currently captain of the Welsh national side.

Personal life

Bellamy was raised in Menai Way, Trowbridge, Cardiff, where his family still live to this day. He attended Baden Powell Primary School, Trowbridge Junior School and Rumney High School. He played football at a junior level for Caer Castell FC, where his father was manager. He was said to have been a keen Liverpool F.C. supporter in his youth. Bellamy married Claire Jenson in June 2006. and has three children, sons Ellis and Cameron and daughter Lexie who was born on 3 September 2007.

Club career

Norwich City

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.

His first team debut for the Canaries came at Crystal Palace on 15 March 1997. The 18 year-old Bellamy became a first team regular during the 1997-98 season, making 38 appearances with 13 goals. On 22nd August 1998, Bellamy scored Norwich's 5000th league goal in competitive football, scoring the second (a penalty) in the Canaries 4-2 win over Queens Park Rangers F.C. Despite this personal high, he missed two months of that season through injury after a clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Kevin Muscat, but still managed to have a successful season, amassing 17 goals in 38 appearances.

1999-2000 again saw Bellamy miss a substantial amount of the season after sustaining a knee injury during a pre-season game against Southend United. He only returned to action in April 2000, though still managed to find the net twice in the final four games of the season following his comeback. The summer of 2000 saw much transfer speculation surrounding Bellamy with Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Celtic and Wimbledon all reportedly interested. Bellamy eventually completed a move to Coventry City for a sum of £6.5 million, financed through the sale of Robbie Keane to Inter Milan for a fee of around £13 million in the same summer.

In 2002, Norwich fans voted Bellamy into the Norwich City F.C. Hall of Fame.

Coventry City

He had an unsuccessful start to his career with the sky blues however, scoring only three league goals by the start of December, two of which were penalties, though on 10th December 2000 he scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Martin O'Neil's high-flying Leicester City to gain his side a crucial three points. This un-spectacular start fueled rumours of a return to Norwich, but it never materialised. Coventry stood by their man despite them facing relegation and Bellamy even stating that he would want to leave if they dropped down a division. This duly happened as the team finished 19th in the Premier League, ending 34 consecutive years in the English top flight, and despite notching up only six league goals, eight in total from 39 appearances, there was still demand for the players services in amongst bigger teams.

Newcastle United

Bellamy would eventually move to Newcastle United F.C. in July 2001. Bobby Robson would later write 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 and he famously nutmegged former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel in a match against Schmeichel's then club Aston Villa on his way to two goals in a 3-0 win in November. 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, Shearer 27, and was awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year award, ahead of players such as Steven Gerrard and Keiron Dyer.

During his second season at the Toon came probably his most important moment for the club as he scored two goals (including the winner) in a 3-2 win over Feyenoord which took Newcastle through to the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately, in the next match in the group just two weeks later, (a 4-1 home defeat to Inter Milan), he was sent off for kicking out at Inter defender Marco Materazzi, which resulted in a three-match ban. He had also scored the opening goal in the September derby match against Sunderland at St. James Park and finished the season with nine goals from thirty-six appearances. In March 2004, he threw a chair at then first-team coach John Carver after a public falling out between the two. 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 in a considerable less amount of games from his two previous seasons at the toon, a sign of things to come as Bellamys career would be blighted by injury in the next few years.

After Bobby 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 23rd 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, 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 of his own saying that he was prepared to play in any position for his club. However, with his Magpies 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 for the club. Souness responded by stating that Bellamy would never play in a Newcastle United shirt again whilst 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 Lisbon 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.

Celtic

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 27th January 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, though he would ultimately lose out on winning the SPL as Celtic suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Motherwell F.C. 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 again beat Dundee United, this time 1-0 at Hampden Park. The Glasgow club were keen to sign him permanently, but on 7 July 2005 it was announced that he was to return to the Premier League with Blackburn Roversmarker for a transfer fee believed to be to be around £5 million. It had been reported that Bellamy was keen on a return to Celtic after his departure from Newcastle United, however a move back north wasn't to be for the player.

Despite the controversy that blighted it, that 2004-05 season proved to be Bellamys most fruitful to date, as he won that Scottish Cup winners medal as well as scoring 22 goals altogether for Newcastle, Celtic and Wales.

Blackburn Rovers

Bellamy signed a four year contract with Blackburn Roversmarker, where he was reunited with former Wales manager and team-mate Mark Hughes. He scored 17 goals for Rovers in 2005-06 (including two terrific efforts against Portsmouth at Fratton Park on 8 April 2006) in all competitions, in a highly successful but injury-tempered season, where the club finished 6th 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. Bellamy provided a core part of the team, alongisde 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.

Liverpool

On 20 June 2006 he was the subject of a transfer bid from FA Cup winners Liverpool, rumoured to be in the region of £6.5 million. The offer triggered a clause in Bellamy's contract involving bids from clubs playing Champions League football, and Blackburn were obliged to allow him permission to talk to the club.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez subsequently stated that Bellamy "has the ability, the pace and the talent we've been looking for", and that he expected talks to go well, particularly as Bellamy was known to have supported Liverpool in his youth. He signed for the club on 23 June 2006 and officially became a Liverpool player on 1 July 2006, scoring his first goal for the club in a pre-season friendly against Wrexham AFC at the racecourse ground in Wrexham, on 5 July 2006, going on to score 5 more goals in pre-season.

Bellamy got off to a slow start for Liverpool. Despite that impressive pre-season and scoring on his debut against Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League 3rd qualifying round first leg on August 9 2006, Bellamy struggled for Premiership goals, eventually scoring his first in mid October, against former club Blackburn Rovers, which earned a draw for the reds after Benni McCarthy had opened the scoring at Anfield. After the match aginst Haifa, Bellamy had set up the winner for Peter Crouch in the 81st minute of the 2006 F.A. Community Shield, as Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 on August 13th 2006.

Bellamy's feud with Newcastle United had resurfaced in September 2006 following Liverpool's 2-0 victory over the Magpies. Assistant Manager Terry McDermott branded Bellamy a "little upstart" after he was said to have apparently interrupted a conversation McDermott was having with referee Mark Halsey after the match had finished. McDermott had also earlier claimed that Bellamy was hated at Newcastle.

Bellamy finally made an impact against Wigan Athletic, inspiring Liverpool 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. He scored again two weeks later against Charlton Athletic and then got a fourth in four games against Watford on the 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. Both players were fined two weeks wages by the club. The incident earned him the nickname "The Nutter with the Putter". Manager Rafael Benítez has 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 1-1 equalizer, after Deco had headed Barca 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 Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez and conflicting opinions on how Bellamy should be utilised in a match.

The next day, Craig angrily dismissed this story on the club's official website, www.liverpoolfc.tv. 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 Rafa 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 on penalties at Anfield, and while at 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.

Bellamy was linked with Aston Villa, Roma and Juventus in the 2007 summer transfer window, and was also linked with a return to former club, Blackburn Rovers, prompting the club's chairman to say that the link was "...only natural." Rafael Benítez confirmed on 7 July 2007 that Bellamy had joined West Ham United, though this was later clarified by the East London club, who stated that the striker had yet to complete a "private contractual matter" with Liverpool. The player left the reds with nine goals from 41 appearances during his single-season stay, though he still remains popular with fans of the merseyside club today.

West Ham United

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 Norwwich teammate Robert Green. This fee means that Bellamy is currently still the Hammers record signing. He said "I wanted to make sure that, if I left Liverpool, it would be to a club that is going to be pushing for Europe. I want to play in Europe, it's important to me, and I felt that same drive and ambition here at West Ham [...] It was important for me to start playing regular football. I could sit at Liverpool as a squad player all day long, picking up my money, playing every now and then, but I'd be cheating myself and my personality."

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 9 games, scoring 4 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 at Upton Park 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 2008-2009 season for the Hammers, scoring the third goal that made sure they beat Blackburn Roversmarker. They won 4-1 after Carlton Cole added an even later fourth (Bellamy's goal had come two minutes into stoppage time). It was his first goal in 6 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 Man 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 league and cup appearances for the Hammers, scoring 9 goals, a strike rate of almost a goal every 3 games.

Manchester City

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, with other sources stating £10 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 £14million, 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. Mark Hughes added that Bellamy was "an outstanding player who will provide us with qualities that we are lacking slightly", and also added, "He has blistering pace, has bags of enthusiasm, has a superb attitude to training and will be a great addition to the squad". Bellamy marked his debut for City on 28 January with a goal against his former club Newcastle United at The City of Manchester Stadium in a 2-1 win (scoring the winner), making him only the fifth player in Premier League history to have scored for six different top-flight clubs. Bellamys next goal came against Middlesbrough in the Premier League where Bellamy sealed the three points in a 1-0 win for the blues at the City of Manchester Stadium, with a low drive from 20 yards. On sunday 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 12th Setember 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 would later be named goal of the month for September 2009. After this derby a fan invaded the pitch but was dealt with by stewards quickly. While the fan was being escorted from the field, T.V. 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 Parkmarker on 5 October 2009, earning a point for his team after being 1-0 down at half-time. On 7th November 2009, Bellamy scored in a 3-3 draw against Burnley F.C. at the City of Manchester Stadium, scoring his side's third after the the team had came back from 2-0 down.

International career

As of November 2009, Bellamy has played 58 times for his country, scoring 17 goals, making him the 5th highest goalscorer, ahead of players such as John Charles, Cliff Jones and Mark Hughes (who would later manage the player at international level, for Blackburn Roversmarker and Manchester City) in Wales' all time top goalscores list, behind only Dean Saunders, Ivor Allchurch, Trevor Ford and record goal-scorer Ian Rush, who has 28 goals from his 73 caps won throughout the 80's and 90's. Bellamy made his international debut for Wales on March 25, 1998, in a friendly game against Jamaica at Ninian Parkmarker stadium, then home to Cardiff City Football Club until they left at the end of the 2008-09 Football League Championship Season. Bellamy scored his first goal for his country during EURO 2000 qualifying, on 10 October 1998, away to Denmark in a 2-1 win. Bellamy's next goal came in qualifying for the 2002 FIFA world cup, in a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Norway in Oslo on 5 September 2001. He followed this goal up by scoring in a credible 1-1 draw against Argentina in a friendly international on 13 February 2002. His next goal famously came in a EURO 2004 victory over Italy on 16 October 2002. He rounded one of the worlds highest rated goalkeepers in Gianluigi Buffon before slotting in Wales' winner. Bellamy then scored in a friendly win over Latvia in August 2004, before getting his next two both against Hungary in another friendly, this time in February 2005.

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 qualifier 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 Rob Earnshaw for his sides second. On 14 November 2006, Bellamy scored his teams third goal in a 4-0 win friendly over Leichtenstein at the Racecourse Ground. Bellamy scored another brace for his country in a friendly against New Zealand on 26 May 2007, in a game that finished 2-2. In June of that year, Giggs announced his retirement from international football and so Bellamy was awarded the captaincy full-time by Toshack. His next goals would come, once again as a brace, in another EURO 2008 qualifier away to Slovakia in a 5-2 victory for Wales. He then earnt his 50th international cap in a friendly against Iceland in May 2008. His next goal was another goal against Denmark, in what turned out to be the winner in a 1-0 friendly victory in Copenhagen, on 19 November 2008. Bellamys last goal to date so far, and only in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying came against Finland in Helsinki, on 10 October 2009, putting Wales on level terms at 1-1 after going a goal down within the first five minutes of the match. Wales went on to lose 2-1. In what is now a very youthful looking Wales side, Bellamys experience and ability is priceless to the team, and should help him be able to bed these youngsters into the international footballing stage. . Arguably his best performance for the national team came during that victory over Slovakia in September 2007, where aside from his two goals, he assisted with two others and was a constant menace throughout the match, in what was a very good result against a highly-rated team.

Football Foundation

On 6 May 2008 plans were announced for the building of the Craig Bellamy Foundation for disadvantaged children in Freetownmarker, Sierra Leonemarker. Bellamy has visited the war-torn West African country and has reportedly been moved to invest £650,000 of his own money to help build a football academy to develop the country's young football talent.

Honours

Celtic

Liverpool

Career statistics



References

  1. " Newcastle ready to offload Bellamy", The Guardian, 24 January 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  2. " Newcastle fine Bellamy after row", BBC Sport, 25 January 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  3. " Drunken Bellamy in Text Rant at Shearer", The Sunday Mirror, 24 April 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  4. " I'll knock your block off, Shearer warns Bellamy", Evening Standard, 27 April 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  5. " Bellamy was hated, says McDermott", BBC Sport, 3 February 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  6. Bellamy faces uncertain future as Liverpool reel from golf club attack", The Guardian, 19 February 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  7. " Bellamy fined £80,000 and facing axe over Riise bust-up", The Daily Mail, 19 February 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  8. " Benítez accepts players' apology", BBC Sport, 21 February 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  9. " Bellamy announces plans to leave Liverpool FC", Wales on Saturday, 28 April 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2007.
  10. " Rumour Watch - July 1" AVFC.premiumtv.co.uk, 1 July 2007
  11. " Bellamy attracts interest from Juventus and Roma", The Independent, 18 June 2007
  12. " Rovers coy over Bellamy return talk", TeamTalk.com, 13 June 2007
  13. Bellamy out for rest of season but Dyer recovery softens blow to West Ham
  14. Zola clams rivals and sees no use for transfer window
  15. Zola wants quick Bellamy solution
  16. Bellamy to seal £14m City switch
  17. Fire in the Bellamy!
  18. Craig Bellamy set to be £43m man for Spurs
  19. Bellamy seals City switch
  20. Man City will not punish Bellamy
  21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8283753.stm
  22. Craig Bellamy | West Ham United | Team | First Team | Player Profiles


External links



1996-97 Norwich City First Division 3 0 - - - 3 0
1997-98 36 13 1 0 1 0 - 38 13
1998-99 40 17 - 5 2 - 45 19
1999-00 4 2 - - - 4 2
2000-01 1 0 - - - 1 0
2000-01 Coventry City Premier League 34 6 2 1 3 1 - 39 8
2001-02 Newcastle United Premier League 27 9 3 0 3 4 6 1 39 14
2002-03 29 7 1 0 - 6 2 36 9
2003-04 16 5 - - 8 5 24 10
2004-05 21 7 1 0 2 0 5 3 29 10

2004-05 Celtic Premier League 12 7 3 2 - - 15 9

2005-06 Blackburn Roversmarker Premier League 27 13 1 2 4 2 - 32 17
2006-07 Liverpool Premier League 27 7 - 2 0 12 2 41 9
2007-08 West Ham United Premier League 8 2 - 1 2 - 9 4
2008-09 13 5 1 0 14 5
2008-09 Manchester City Premier League 7 3 - 0 0 2 2 9 5
2009-10 8 4 0 0 2 0 - 13 5
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