Craig Bellamy's eventful season-long loan move to the Championship side Cardiff City was confirmed by Manchester City yesterday, putting an end to a pre-season 31-year-old Wales striker's threat to quit the game altogether. The writing has been on the wall for Bellamy at City since manager Roberto Mancini announced that he would not be in his 25-man Premier League squad. The Welshman claimed he had not spoken to his Italian coach for six months.
"I feel strongly that I can offer something at the club," Bellamy had said before Mancini's decision. "But if I don't get in the 25-man squad, I don't know what I will do. I might finish, full stop, or look at every option I get." However, the Wales captain, 31, agreed to drop down a division and sign for his home town club. An earlier sticking point to the deal was Bellamy's reported £90,000-a-week (Dh522,000) wages. Dave Jones, the Cardiff manager, admitted on Saturday that the club would not be able to afford the striker's full salary, but it is likely the two clubs agreed a compromise which will see City pay a significant part of Bellamy's wages, reportedly around £70,000.
Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and Fulham were all linked with Bellamy but it is understood City did not want the striker joining one of their Premier League rivals. Bellamy told yesterday's press conference that he had no hard feelings towards Mancini. "Nothing's difficult about this," he said. "I had the greatest time at Manchester City at a great period in their history. The next couple of years I'm sure they'll get the Premier League title, and I hope they do."
Bellamy refused to comment on reports City would not allow him to join a rival Premier League club but praised Mancini. "There's no ill feeling," added the 31-year-old. "I hope he does well, he's a top manager." The move represents a major coup for Cardiff, who missed out on promotion to the Premier League last season after they were beaten in last season's Championship play-off final by Blackpool.
Bellamy explained the chance to spend more time with his family was his primary motivation for joining Cardiff, and he does not expect to have it easy in the second tier. "My wide and kids live here and I've spent the last six years travelling up and down the road," he said. "I left home at 15. I've always wanted to come back but I wanted to come back at the top of my game." * Press Association