Craig Bellamy opens up on battle with depression after football career ended

Former Liverpool and Wales forward Craig Bellamy says he's been battling depression for the last few years.

Bellamy, 40, also played for Newcastle, West Ham and Manchester City during a well-travelled career which also brought 78 Wales caps.

He is currently working as the under-21s coach at Belgian side Anderlecht after accepting an invitation from ex-City teammate Vincent Kompany last year, and he says issues from his playing career carried over into his retirement.

“Very few people know this; I’ve never spoken about it," he told his former Liverpool teammate Jamie Carragher in a chat for Sky Sports.

"I don’t really feel it’s anyone’s business to talk about it. I’m quite private about what I do and I keep everything away.

"People only see certain bits of what I allow you to see. My private life is very, very private to me. I always want to keep that separate.

“But for the last three or four years I have been diagnosed with depression. I’m a man of depression, I can’t get away from that.

"I have ridiculous highs, and massive lows. I’ve been on medication for three years, and this is the first time I’ve ever spoken about it.

“Injuries didn’t help. They were so, so difficult to overcome. The self-doubt you have in yourself, which is normal, but you have a lot of people saying you can’t make it back, you’re never going to be the same.

“So the level of trying to prove yourself on a consistent basis, to be better, to prove everyone wrong, sort of came back to being a kid, moving away and wanting to make it work, because I’d missed out on my childhood and my friends.”

Bellamy, who moved from his native Cardiff to Norwich at a young age, says he took action to see professionals about some of his issues during his playing career.

“Football is only here a short time. That’s why you probably see a lot of footballers, more from our generation, do struggle a bit," he added.

“I remember being at Liverpool, going to see Dr Zaf – Zaf Iqbal – he saw one or two problems in me. He saw them escalate. I never really noticed it, I just saw them as normal habits.

"But we had a good conversation, and he recommended me then to Steve Peters. When I saw him, it was a bit of a wake-up call for myself…

“I moved away from home from a very young age at 15. Can you imagine 15-year-old boys moving the other end of the country, away from everyone? The loneliness, being homesick, was the hardest I’ve ever had to deal with.

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