Craig Bellamy claimed last night that Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owner intervened personally to prevent him moving to Tottenham Hotspur and that he was told he would be forced to train with his club's academy players across Manchester if he did not agree to a move to Steve McClaren's Wolfsburg.
Bellamy, on loan at Cardiff City, hinted in the course of an interview with Radio Five Live that Manchester United were interested in signing him at the point when the threat of working with the youngsters at the Platt Lane complex effectively terminated his relationship with City's manager, Roberto Mancini. Though United sources have rejected the suggestion that the club were interested in the 31-year-old, who tormented both Rio Ferdinand and Rafael da Silva in games last season, Bellamy said he had been told by the City chief executive, Garry Cook, that he had received more expressions of interest in him than any other player.
"I believe the Tottenham [problem] came from higher up," Bellamy said. "I think there was a personal matter concerning the owner [Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan], which meant that [deal] wasn't going to get done. It was quite personal." Of the supposed United approach, he said: "If I had said I wanted to go there for one minute, my life in Manchester would have been really tough. It would have been a miracle had it come off."
Bellamy, whose departure from Eastlands Carlos Tevez continues to argue was a mistake, said he had been promised by Cook, the club's football administrator Brian Marwood and even chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak that a specialised training regime for his troublesome left knee would continue when Mancini arrived.
"Then a few months down the line the manager tried to change it," Bellamy said. "I didn't know what he was talking about." Of Mancini's double training sessions last season, which Tevez also resisted, Bellamy said: "I would sometimes struggle to do the double sessions. I am a fast-twitch fibre type of player and history shows that with those kinds of players double sessions don't work. For certain players you have to realise they can't work the same way as others. I can do those double sessions if you want. No problem. But you won't see me on Saturday. You won't see me all season.
"There is no loyalty in football. How can I go from having a really good year one year [at City] and then the next be told to train with the kids? You are not allowed to improve yourself. You are not allowed to go to a good team, but you have to go and train with the kids. You are told 'We will swap you with [Edin] Dzeko at Wolfsburg if you like but if you don't want that you can train with the kids again. Is that loyalty for my performances last year?"