Craig Bellamy

Beat-up Bellamy turns down English, MLS interest, retiring at 34

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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.

Premier League Roundup: Man City clinch title, Chelsea, Liverpool win

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What. A. Finish.

The ribbons have been neatly tied on the 2013-14 Premier League season and a huge congratulations goes to Manchester City for clinching the title.

By beating West Ham on the final day Manuel Pellegrini’s side sauntered to their second PL title in three years, as Liverpool came up short in second place despite beating Newcastle on the final day at Anfield.

MORE: Final Premier League standings

Elsewhere Chelsea finished third, as they fought back to beat Cardiff City, while Manchester United drew 1-1 away at Southampton, Everton ended their season on high by beating Hull City, Arsenal won away at Norwich and Tottenham hammered Aston Villa at home. Plus plenty more happened during a hectic finale to a stunning season.

In case you missed any of the action from a extremely busy Championship Sunday which saw all 10 PL games kick off at the same time, we’ve got you covered here at PST.

Below we have recaps, analysis and videos on every single PL game.

Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea

Craig Bellamy’s deflected effort put Cardiff 1-0 up early in the first half and they held that lead until 20 minutes from time when Andre Schurrle tidied up to equalize. Moments later Fernando Torres bagged the winner as Chelsea finished third and were four points off the top. As for Cardiff, they finished rock bottom of the PL.

Hull City 0-2 Everton

James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku scored in either half as the Toffees finished in style, and in fifth spot, as Roberto Martinez’s men grabbed a record points tally in the PL. Everton were extremely dominant in this one as Hull had one eye on next Saturday’s FA Cup final. It has been a shocking finish to the season for the Tigers but they don’t care because they achieved their aim of staying in the PL. As for Everton, a terrific season which they will hope to build on.

Fulham 2-2 Crystal Palace

Two youngsters scored for Fulham as Cauley Woodrow and Chris David gave a glimpse of the future at Craven Cottage. Crystal Palace led twice through a Dwight Gayle double but David scored a late equalizer to finish Fulham’s season off positively. Palace finished in 11th place, while Fulham finished in 19th and four points from safety as they were relegated from the PL.

Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle United

The Reds came up short as they finished second in the PL, just two points behind champions Man City. On Sunday they went behind to Newcastle as Martin Skrtel scored a record-breaking fourth own goal of the season. However the Reds weren’t to see their sensational season finish with a whimper, as two quick-fire goals from Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge turned the game on its head. Newcastle finished with nine-men as Shola Ameobia and Paul Dummett were both sent off, the Magpies finished in ninth.

Norwich City 0-2 Arsenal

Two second half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson saw the Gunners ease to victory and Norwich relegated. Arsenal go into the FA Cup final against Hull next weekend in fine form after winning five-straight to finish the season. As for the Canaries, their three-year stay in the top flight is over and all is not well at Carrow Road.

Manchester City 2-0 West Ham United

Manuel Pellegrini’s side eased to the PL title as they only need a point against the Hammers… but took all three. Samir Nasri banged one in off the post just before half time then Vincent Kompany thumped home another just after the break as the party started early at the Etihad. 102 goals this season for the Citizens, as City turned on the style as they peaked at the right time. West Ham finished the season in 13th place as mystery still shrouds Sam Allardyce’s future.

Southampton 1-1 Manchester United

Saints went ahead early on through Rickie Lambert’s cool finish in front of England manager Roy Hodgson and the home side tore United apart in the first half. After the interval Ryan Giggs’s side were much better and Juan Mata curled in a wonderful free kick to level things up. Overall a draw was a fair result as Saints finished in their highest ever PL position of eighth, while United finished seventh and failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1990. The Red Devils’ nightmare season is over.

Sunderland 1-3 Swansea

Two early goals from Nathan Dyer and Marvin Emnes put the Swans in a commanding position at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland fought back as Fabio Borini made it 2-1 however soon after Swansea’s leading scorer Wilfried Bony made it 3-1 and that was how it would finish. Swans finished the season in 12th, Sunderland in 14th after their ‘Great Escape.’

Tottenham 3-0 Aston Villa

Tim Sherwood’s time in charge of Spurs may well be up but he’s done a superb job. Tottenham will play in the Europa League next year after battering Aston Villa at White Hart Lane. Paulinho opened the scoring, then there was an own goal from Nathan Baker before Emmanuel Adebayor made it 3-0 from the penalty spot before the break. Spurs finish sixth, while Villa finished 15th and five points above the bottom three.

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Stoke City

What a season for the Potters who finished ninth after winning six of their last 10 matches. They went ahead after Gareth McAuley scored an own goal but Stephane Sessegnon equalized as the Baggies looked to have secured their 17th draw of the season. However Charlie Adam scored a late winner to give Mark Hughes’ team their first-ever top 10 finish in the PL. West Brom finished one place above the relagtion zone and Spanish boss Pepe Mel could well be on his way this summer.

Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea: Blues surge back for late win

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Chelsea finished off the season by beating Cardiff City 2-1 away from home, as the Blues staged a surging second half comeback in South Wales.

The home side took the lead early on as Craig Bellamy’s deflected effort found the top corner and Chelsea struggled to get back into the match as the Bluebirds held firm. It took until the final 20 minutes for Chelsea to come to life as Cesar Azpilicueta hit the crossbar and substitute Andre Schurrle finished things off to equalize, then two minutes later Fernando Torres scored to give Chelsea the 2-1 lead which they hold on to.

In Mourinho’s first season of his second spell in charge of Chelsea the Blues ended up finishing third on 82 points, while Cardiff finished rock bottom on 30 points.

MORE: Final Premier League standings

Early on Chelsea had a great chance to go ahead as Fernando Torres latched onto a loose ball and rounded Cardiff ‘keeper David Marshall and slotted an effort towards the open goal but Steven Caulker cleared off the line superbly. Moments later Oscar smashed the ball just over the bar as the Blues from West London took the game to the Bluebirds.

However it was Cardiff who took the lead as as Bellamy was found on the left-hand side of the box in the 15th minute and his effort was deflected into the far corner of the goal to hand the home side the lead.

After going behind Chelsea pushed forward but failed to carve out any clear cut chances and before the break Cardiff could’ve gone 2-0 up as Frazier Campbell danced past four challenges however the Englishman blasted his effort way over from close range. Right on the stroke of half time Chelsea almost leveled the scores as the ball dropped to Mohamed Salah after a corner but the Egyptian winger put his effort just wide.

Chelsea tried to go for broke and get back into the game as Salah saw one shot blocked by his own player Cesar Azpilicueta, then smashed another into the side-netting as Chelsea piled on the pressure. To their credit Cardiff dug in and tried to get back into the game but Chelsea’s pressure finally paid off late in the game.

In the 72nd minute Azpilicueta hit the crossbar and Schurrle cleaned up to make it 1-1, then moments later a header from Nemanja Matic found Torres unmarked in the box and the Spanish striker coolly slot home to complete the comeback.

LINEUPS

Cardiff City: Marshall, Fabio, Caulker, Turner, John, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Whittingham, Daehli (Cowie, 67′), Bellamy (Healey, 76′), Campbell (James, 69′)

Goal: Bellamy (15′)

Chelsea: Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Cole, Azpilicueta, Kalas, Oscar, Mikel (Schurrle, 66′), Salah (Ake, 79′), Hazard (Swift, 89′), Matic, Torres

Goals: Schurrle (72′), Torres (75′)

Watch Live: Cardiff City vs. Chelsea (Lineups and Discuss)

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Cardiff City host Chelsea in the Welsh capital on Sunday (Watch live on CNBC, 10:00 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra) as the Bluebirds bow out of the Premier League after their first season in the top-flight.

With Cardiff’s relegation confirmed last week and Chelsea not in the title race, there will be an air of despair around the Cardiff City stadium.

Plenty of anger will be directed towards Cardiff’s controversial owner Vincent Tan after he fired popular manager Malky Mackay and the team have never recovered. New boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer had a mountain to climb and his side just couldn’t clamber out of the bottom three.

As for Chelsea, Jose Mourinho will not win any silverware in the first season of his second spell in charge of the Blues. They hung in the title race until the penultimate week of the season but that damaging UEFA Champions League semifinal defeat to Atletico Madrid has knocked the win out the West London clubs sails.

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In team news Cardiff start with Craig Bellamy on the wing, while Chelsea start young Tomas Kalas in central defense as John Terry is out injured and Frank Lampard is missing through sickness.

LINEUPS

Cardiff City: Marshall, Fabio, Caulker, Turner, John, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Whittingham, Daehli, Bellamy, Campbell. Subs: Lewis; Eikrem, Cowie, McNaughton, Berget, James, Healey

Chelsea: Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Cole, Azpilicueta, Kalas, Oscar, Mikel, Salah, Hazard, Matic, Torres. Subs: Hilario, Cahill, Ake, David Luiz, Swift, Schurrle, Ba

Watch Live: Sunderland vs Cardiff City (Lineups and Discuss)

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Sunderland look to build on their shock win over Chelsea and climb out of the bottom three against fellow drop-zone candidates Cardiff.

The Black Cats are still bottom of the league but have their relegation rivals thinking “oh no” according to Adam Johnson.

The game against Cardiff, at 7am ET at the Stadium of Light live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra, could see either team out of the relegation zone with a win.

Sunderland also receive a pair of boosts to their squad, as Liam Bridcutt returns from his absence due to personal reasons and is on the bench, while Phil Bardsley is back from a two-match ban.

American striker Jozy Altidore begins the match on the bench, second to Fabio Borini and Connor Wickham with Stephen Fletcher out injured.

Goalkeeper Kieran Westwood, a long-term injury absentee, is also still out. His counterpart Vito Mannone was voted Sunderland’s Player of the Season.

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For Cardiff, Craig Bellamy is back from a virus that kept him out of last week’s match with Stoke City and is on the bench. However, Craig Noone and Mark Hudson are absent due to injury.

Both squads, at least initially, appear to have gone with a conventional two-striker lineup, as Jordan Mutch and Frazier Campbell are the men on duty for the Bluebirds.

LINEUPS:

Sunderland – Mannone; Vergini, Alonso, O’Shea, Brown; Cattermole, Larsson, Colback, Johnson; Borini, Wickham.
Bench – Bardsley, Gardner, Altidore, Giaccherini, Bridcutt, Scocco, Ustari.

Cardiff City – Marshall; Theophile, Caulker, Cala, Fabio; Cowie, Medel, Whittingham, Dæhli; Mutch, Campbell.
Bench – Lewis; Turner, Jones, Eikrem, Zaha, Bellamy, John.