Manchester City were bemused last night by Craig Bellamy's suggestion that their manager, Roberto Mancini, has not spoken to him since February and that he might walk away from football if he does not make the club's 25-man Premier League squad.
Bellamy, the only unused substitute in City's home friendly against Valencia on Saturday, has not played in the pre-season and said he found himself "in a situation I find hard to get my head around", with last season's commitment going unrewarded.
"He [Mancini] hasn't spoken to me since February. I don't know if it's personal – he is like that with a lot of players, so maybe that's just his manner," Bellamy said. "I feel strongly that I can offer something at the club. 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. This game is as ruthless as any, and I sort of feel I am not going to be part of it [at Manchester City] – I can see it from a distance.
"I feel I deserve to be part of it, but I don't pick the 25-man squad or the team. I have to basically wait on their decision.
"With this 25-man ruling, it doesn't matter how well I train or how good my attitude is, I might not be registered to play.
"So do I go without playing football until January, or do I find myself a club where I can play football? I will look at every option I can and weigh up what is best for me and my family."
There is a view among some at City that Bellamy has been cut some slack. The club decided not to reprimand the player, having launched an investigation last season into comments he made in the players' tunnel minutes after the home defeat to Everton. Though noise in the tunnel prevented the club obtaining enough evidence to discipline him, there were suggestions that his comments were in support of the Everton manager, David Moyes, who had clashed with Mancini in the closing minutes of the game. Mancini has simply not convinced the player that he, his training methods and style of football can take the club to the next level.
Despite Bellamy's obvious desire to leave, there have as yet been no bids for him. Bellamy also suggested before Wales' friendly with Luxembourg in Llanelli tonight, that he had rejected an offer from the German club Wolfsburg, who are managed by Steve McClaren, though that prospective move would have been part of a cash and player swap for the German club's striker Edin Dzeko, which fell through.
Fulham's Mark Hughes would be likely to move for Bellamy, who would need to take a cut in his £90,000-a-week salary, though he seems also to be attracted to the idea of playing for Cardiff City. "I've always wanted to play for Cardiff – I've never been shy of saying that," Bellamy declared.
"My wife and kids live [in south Wales] and it would have more of a pull to me than most. We will have to wait and see.
"Would I love to get Cardiff City into the Premier League? Of course I would. For us to move forward as a nation football-wise, we do need a Premier League team to come from Wales, whether it's Cardiff or Swansea."
Bellamy, an emotional character, said in the same breath that he was also "committed to stay where I am", though the prospects of that may have receded after this outpouring.
City's loan stars
Nedum Onuoha, who is close to joining Sunderland, could be the first of many Manchester City players to be loaned out.
Shay Given Has threatened to leave if Joe Hart is chosen ahead of him in goal.
Wayne Bridge Could be shipped out following the signing of Aleksandar Kolarov.
Stephen Ireland Currently in talks with Aston Villa.
Craig Bellamy Spurs, Celtic and Fulham interested.
Roque Santa Cruz Has also been linked with Fulham.
Jo Has already been loaned out twice.Reuse content