Craig Bellamy returns to Cardiff City on two-year deal

Craig Bellamy has joined Cardiff City on a free transfer from Liverpool, signing a two-year contract.

The Cardiff-born forward, who scored 11 goals in a loan spell at the club in 2010-11, will wear the number 39 shirt.

He said his main motivation for joining the Bluebirds was to be able to live at home with his family in Cardiff.

"I wanted to wake up every day with my kids," said 33-year-old Bellamy, who has taken a significant cut in wages. "There's more to life than football."

Cardiff chief executive Alan Whiteley added: "I am sure that Liverpool will agree that their loss is this football club's gain."

Rumours of Bellamy's return were fuelled this week when Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed he had given the Welshman permission to move closer to his family in south Wales.

Bellamy played and scored for Great Britain at the Olympics this summer. His talents are well known to the current Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay.

"We've known each other our whole careers," said Mackay. "We were together a long time ago at Norwich City. He's a proud lad from the area and he's a top player, a top talent."

Cardiff captain Mark Hudson thinks Bellamy can have a positive affect on his side's bid to win promotion to the Premier League.

"He's an international and he's been at the top level for a long time," said Hudson, who said Bellamy's influence had been evident during his loan spell at the club.

"To be able to work with someone like that was beneficial to everyone that was playing with him at the time," added Hudson.

"I learnt a lot from him, the way he conducted himself and went about his day-to-day business. You look at him now, he's a role model."

Cardiff have won three of four pre-season friendlies as they prepare for the Capital One Cup first-round tie at Northampton Town on Tuesday.

They also face Newcastle United at home on Saturday in their final warm-up match as they attempt to go one better than last season's play-off final defeat.

"Top two is the main aim for us," said Hudson. "I don't think anyone wants to see us go through the play-offs again. I definitely don't.

"But with the squad we've got this year and the way we've gelled over the last 12 to 13 months, as a group we're a lot more solid now."

Mackay has also confirmed that defender Darcy Blake is still in his plans for next season, even though the youth team product has not signed a contract extension.

"We offered Darcy a contract extension and he's turned that down," said Mackay. "Darcy probably feels he needs first-team football."

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