Birthdate: 13 July 1979
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales
Other clubs: Norwich City (1990-2000), Coventry City (2000-01), Newcastle United (2001-05), Celtic (loan 2005), Blackburn Rovers (2005-06), West Ham United (2007-09), Manchester City (2009-11), Cardiff City (loan 2010-11), Cardiff City (2 / 2012-14)
Bought from: Blackburn Rovers / Manchester City
Signed for LFC: 6000000 / Free, 01.07.2006 / 31.08.2011
International debut: 25.03.1998 vs. Jamaica
International caps: 78/19 (17/5 at LFC) - 15.10.2013
Liverpool debut: 09.08.2006
Last appearance: 13.05.2012
Debut goal: 09.08.2006
Last goal: 31.01.2012
Contract expiry: 10.07.2007 / 10.08.2012
Win ratio: 50.63% W:40 D:15 L:24
Games/goals ratio: 4.39
Honours: League Cup 2012
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 12 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 54 / 13
Total LFC games/goals: 79 / 18
Player profileBellamy started his career at Norwich making his first-team debut in the 1996/97 season. He alerted bigger clubs to his ability by scoring 13 goals in 38 games in his first full season and making his Wales debut. He scored 19 goals in 43 games the following season and after an injury hit 1999/00 season he was sold for a club record fee of £6.5 million to replace Robbie Keane at Coventry. His former manager in the Welsh international side, Bobby Gould, had great faith in young Craig: "Bellamy is a terrific talent with tremendous flair and ability. When I was working at international level, there were three outstanding prospects in the country - Michael Owen, Robbie Keane and Craig Bellamy. Craig is right up there with the other two. He's a philosopher and disciple of the game, and travels all over Europe at his own expense, watching the top clubs and learning from the best players. I was telling Premiership managers three years ago to go out and buy him, so I think it's a great signing." The Sky Blues were relegated from the Premier League in his only season but luckily for Bellamy Newcastle were fully aware of his capabilities.
Bellamy spent next four years at Newcastle and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in his debut 2001/02 season. His boss Bobby Robson described him as "a great player wrapped round an unusual and volatile character." Knee problems curtailed his career at the Magpies and Bellamy was even worried that he might never overcome them. He still managed to play 128 games and score 43 goals. After Sir Bobby left Newcastle in 2004 Bellamy had a very public falling-out with his successor, Graeme Souness, who voiced his displeasure in his notes in Newcastle's match programme: "Craig Bellamy has been a disruptive influence from the minute I walked into this football club with his attitude to the coaching staff, to me and to his teammates." Former assistant manager of Newcastle Terry McDermott wasn't a big fan either. "I've never come across so much hatred and unrest over one person." Bellamy was sent on loan to Celtic at the end of January 2005. He scored nine goals in 15 matches in Scotland but Bellamy wasn't interested in a long-term deal. The fiery Welshman joined another fiery Welshman at Blackburn prior to the 2005/06 season. Bellamy flourished under Mark Hughes' guidance and scored 17 goals in 32 games and was considered by many the buy of the season. He had a £6 million get-out clause in his contract which Liverpool took full advantage of and this lifelong Red joined his idols. Bellamy was very inconsistent in which proved to be his only season at Liverpool when he made 33 starts and nine substitute appearances. He showed his obvious talents on occasions but unfortunately the "highlight" was his Tiger Woods imitation on Liverpool's club trip to Portugal when John Arne Riise faced the angry Welshman and his golf club. Bellamy made light of the incident when celebrating his goal against Barcelona in February 2007 with a mock golf swing. His international manager, John Toshack, was impressed by Bellamy when commenting on him in November 2006: "Craig is the nearest thing to Kevin Keegan I have seen in 20 years. For us, he led by example and is a constant threat with his pace and running. He is so like Kevin, my old strike partner at Liverpool. Kevin could turn bad passes into good ones with his determination and running, and Craig does the same. Their work rates are very similar - Craig just runs, and runs and so did Kevin."
Bellamy played with the Hammers for one and a half season where injuries took their toll on him, but despite only managing nine goals in 26 games for 18 months he was sold for a whopping £14 million to Manchester City in January 2009. Bellamy scored four goals in 11 matches in his debut season at Eastlands. He seemed be fairly happily settled at City, missing only six of the 38 Premier League matches in 2009/10. He endeared himself to the City fans by scoring twice in a League match at Old Trafford, the second making the score 3-3 with time running out; however, there was still enough time for Michael Owen to grab a United winner in added-time. In what turned out to be his only full season at City Bellamy scored ten goals from 32 Premier League matches as well as boasting eight assists. Bellamy was on the move again, but this time on a season-long loan deal to his hometown club, Cardiff City. He was immediately named club captain, scored 11 goals from 36 matches and proved instrumental with 13 assists in 2010/11. Cardiff's quest to become a Premier League club again ended in disappointment after Reading defeated them in the end-of-season play-off semi-final.
On the last day of the 2011 summer transfer-window 32-year-old Bellamy made a surprise return to Liverpool five years after he first arrived at Anfield. Bellamy had been granted a free transfer by Manchester City after the club agreed to settle the final year of the player’s £90,000-a-week contract, though the compensation did not total the full £4.6 million. Liverpool's Director of Football, Damien Comolli, was pleased with adding the Welshman to Dalglish's squad: "Both for Kenny and I it was a no-brainer. He has pace, he's a good finisher, he works hard and the timing of his runs is second to none. His work-rate is really good and what we really liked is the fact he is so versatile. He can play wide, he can play up front, he can play off the target man, so he is an ideal complement to the squad we have built during the summer." Bellamy was one of the big success stories of the season. He appeared in almost three-quarters of the 51 first-team matches, even though he was rarely asked to play twice in the same week due to his physical condition. He made a significant contribution with nine goals, the most important of which was the strike that took the club through to the final of the League Cup, ironically where they met Cardiff City. In the final he came on as a substitute for Jordan Henderson midway through the second half, applauded by both sets of fans. As Liverpool celebrated the win Bellamy made a point of going to the Cardiff fans, thanking them for their reception. He was also a substitute in the FA Cup semi-final with Everton at Wembley and laid on the winning goal for Andy Carroll, guaranteeing himself a starting place in the final against Chelsea. Bellamy contributed nine goals to the campaign, but failed to score in his last 13 games of which six were 'starts'. Bellamy left for Cardiff in August 2012, the main reason being he wanted to live with his family there, having been forced to live apart while he was at Liverpool.
Bellamy was a key figure in 2012-13 as his hometown club returned to the top division for the first time since 1962. He played in thirty-three Championship matches, scoring four times.
If Bellamy was thrilled to be playing in the top division for his hometown club, his team had a quite miserable season finishing bottom of the Premier League with only 30 points and so making an immediate return to The Championship. Even a change of manager mid-way through the season did not change the club's fortunes on the field of play. Craig played in exactly half (19) of Cardiff's 38 Premier League matches. He only scored once, against Norwich City in January, but that goal meant that he had scored for seven different clubs in the Premier League. Bellamy's two-year contract with Cardiff City was due to expire shortly after the end of the 2013/14 season. With his 35th birthday looming in the summer, it was unclear whether the charismatic Welshmen would be seeking a new contract with City, looking elsewhere to continue playing or call time on his playing career completely.
Bellamy announced his retirement as a player on 22 May 2014 saying his body could not take any more. in December that year he returned to his old club as an academy coach.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|2||West Ham United|
|1||Brighton & Hove Albion|
Goals per season
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
|1||Brighton & Hove Albion|
Chris Wood shares his opinion on the new Craig Bellamy bookMore
By Michael Walker in the Daily Mail on 30th January 2012.More
Interview by Chris Bascombe at the Liverpool Echo on 22nd of February 2007, the day after Liverpool's great win at Nou Camp. More
Match report from The Observer on Wigan - Liverpool on 02.12.2006.More
From Goodfella: My autobiography. Published in the Daily Mail on 7 June 2013.More
"Craig loves playing the game and joining such a good club as Liverpool can only benefit him. He has always wanted to play in the big tournaments and his talent deserves that. He is a tremendous player and I'm sure he will do well for them. He has got speed, confidence and he scores goals so being at Anfield will be good for Wales, but I'm not so sure it's such good news for the rest of he Premiership.
The move will be good for him in so many ways, not least because at most of his previous clubs Craig has had to shoulder a great deal of the responsibility. But now he will have better players around him, which will ease the pressure on him and he probably won't even have to play in every game for Liverpool. "And he is an important player for Wales too. He is, like me, one of the senior players now and the onus is on us to set standards for the younger lads coming through, both on and off the pitch."
Man Utd star Ryan Giggs on his welsh teammate Craig Bellamy
"He can become a Liverpool legend, he can do that. If he went to a Barcelona, a Milan or a Madrid he would have an impact because of what he has - a great work ethic as well as great ability. Sometimes his personality grates on some people but as a professional, as someone who comes in to try to better himself every day, you can't fault Craig. If you don't know him you don't understand the desire he has to be the best player he can be. I don't think he should ever be knocked for that. He did an excellent job for us at Blackburn. We embraced him and he embraced us and what we were about, that's why it worked. Captaining his country was also important to Craig. He likes to be recognised as one of the more important, senior players."
Mark Hughes on Craig Bellamy in December 2006
"I've never come across so much hatred and unrest over one person. I have experienced it from the inside, and it's across the board. What I've been told, not by players and coaches, but by people who have been at United for 30 and 40 years, hardly made for harmony. They've begged me not to let this guy back into the club. I've no axe to grind with Craig Bellamy. I've never met him and he's done me no personal harm. But, in the six days I've been here, what I've heard from many sources means I don't want to meet the guy. Some of the things said by him, not just last week but throughout his period here, have been disgraceful. I know about the voicemail message he sent because I was playing golf with Alan [Shearer] when he received it. That message alone should mean Bellamy never plays here again.
Former assistant manager at Newcastle Terry McDermott on Craig Bellamy’s legacy at Newcastle
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Norwich City||1996-1997||England First Division||3||0||3||0|
|Norwich City||1997-1998||England First Division||36||13||38||13|
|Norwich City||1998-1999||England First Division||40||17||45||19|
|Norwich City||1999-2000||England First Division||4||2||4||2|
|Norwich City||2000-2001||England First Division||1||0||1||0|
|Coventry City||2000-2001||England Premier League||34||6||39||8|
|Newcastle United||2001-2002||England Premier League||27||9||39||14|
|Newcastle United||2002-2003||England Premier League||29||7||36||9|
|Newcastle United||2003-2004||England Premier League||16||5||24||10|
|Newcastle United||2004-2005||England Premier League||21||7||29||10|
|Celtic||2004-2005||Scotland Premier League||12||7||15||9|
|Blackburn Rovers||2005-2006||England Premier League||27||13||32||17|
|West Ham United||2007-2008||England Premier League||8||2||9||4|
|West Ham United||2008-2009||England Premier League||16||5||17||5|
|Manchester City||2008-2009||England Premier League||8||2||11||4|
|Manchester City||2009-2010||England Premier League||32||10||40||11|
|Cardiff City||2010-2011||England Championship||35||11||36||11|
|Cardiff City||2012-2013||England Championship||33||4||33||4|
|Cardiff City||2013-2014||England Championship||22||2||22||2|