Mercurial, tenacious forward Craig Bellamy has retired from soccer at age 34, saying “I‘ve had to listen to my body.”
An antagonist in every sense of the word, Bellamy has played all over the English map. Beginning with Coventry City in 2000, he’s suited up for Newcastle, Blackburn, Liverpool, West Ham, Manchester City, Liverpool again and Cardiff City.
No stint lasted longer than the 93 appearances he made with Newcastle, scoring 28 goals between 2001-2005.
But his style betrayed his body, and his last four years do not sound like they’ve been fun. From the BBC:
“I guess over the years I’ve become accustomed to the pain from various injuries,” said Bellamy. “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 says he’ll not pursue a coaching career after turning down several opportunities to play in the England and United States.
Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.
The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).
Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.
Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.
On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).
Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.
The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.
“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.
“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”
Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.