After seemingly settling down at Manchester City after leaving a string of clubs, Craig Bellamy has once again put his future in doubt as reports surround his uncertain relationship with his manager Roberto Mancini.
Bellamy has enjoyed his richest vein of form in years, but it is reported that he has privately expressed his wish to leave Eastlands should Mancini, who is on a temporary contract, take permanent charge of the Manchester club. The Welshman has become the second player to have a disagreement with the manager after Carlos Tevez criticised the Italian’s training regime last week before the Manchester derby. Mancini, formerly of Inter Milan, has had a steady if unspectacular tenure since replacing Mark Hughes after his sacking before Christmas, but he has handed the initiative to Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham for the much coveted fourth Champions League spot after a lacklustre performance in the Manchester derby at the weekend. Funnily enough Redknapp may be the man to make a move for Bellamy should his situation at City remain the same or even worsen, if the Welsh forward is willing to take a cut in pay on his current £90,000-a-week wages.
The Sportsmail had recently revealed that City were investigating Bellamy in relation to Mancini’s bust-up with Everton manager David Moyes during the pair’s fixture at Eastlands. The former Liverpool striker allegedly made comments in the players’ tunnel in support of Moyes following the incident. But his comments could not be proved and he has continued to feature regularly for the Citizens following an uneasy truce with his Italian boss. Should the Manchester club qualify for the UEFA Champions League the striker faces a dilemma about his future, but it has become apparent that his form has dipped in recent weeks and due to his frosty relationship with Mancini the club may lose patience with the controversial Welshman. The 30-year-old is no stranger to controversy and has fallen out with many people in the game. In 2005, whilst at St James’ Park, the player made himself very unwelcome amongst the Toon faithful when he allegedly sent abusive messages to Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who was the club captain at the time, following the Magpies defeat against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.
Since that infamous bust-up on Tyneside, the Welshman seemingly rejuvenated his career following successful spells at both Celtic and Blackburn Rovers, and eventually earned a move to a big club when Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool came calling for his services in the July of 2006 – but it was not too long before Bellamy managed to spoil relations and alienate himself from those around him. He became the “Nutter with the Putter” after attacking his teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club during a club training session in Portugal. Following events in Portugal, relationships became too fractious at Anfield and he was eventually sold to West Ham where he once again proved himself as a top-level striker and earned a move to big spending Manchester City.
But as Bellamy seemed to have found his home at the City of Manchester Stadium, the change in manager looks to usurped all his fine work. The Welshman’s ability is unquestionable, but his temperament seems certain to plague him still yet. If Bellamy wishes for one final crack at the big time, he’d do well to stay in the north-west, but if he continues to court controversy, he will just continue to waste what undoubted talent he has. His time at City will rank alongside his spell at Rovers as his best time in football, and it is no coincidence he played under the astute tutelage of Hughes on both occasions. The shame is, it is becoming increasingly clear, Hughes is the only manager who knows how to control the enigma that is Craig Bellamy. The case of this season’s two Premier League Manchester derby’s is the perfect example – the first of which, when Hughes was manager, Bellamy simply tore apart United’s defence almost single-handedly securing his side a result with two fine strikes, while on Saturday, we saw the petulant and sulky player that we have grown so accustomed to when Hughes isn’t around.