May 22, 2014, 3:02 PM EST
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.
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