‘My ultimate dream’: Craig Bellamy confirmed as Wales manager

Craig Bellamy

Craig Bellamy expressed his excitement at being named the new Wales manager, calling it his "ultimate dream come true." After signing a four-year contract to take over from Rob Page, the former captain, who has been coaching since retiring from playing in 2014, is now stepping into his first head coaching position.

Bellamy, who had previously worked as an assistant for Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and Burnley, was chosen as the top choice by the Football Association of Wales after Page was fired following poor results in friendly matches against Gibraltar and Slovakia in the previous month.

Bellamy played in 78 games for his national team, leading the squad from 2007 to 2010. He openly expressed his ambition to become the team's manager. In 2018, he applied for the position but was ultimately passed over in favor of Ryan Giggs, who was his teammate on the national team before Robert Page.

"It is a great privilege for me to have the chance to lead my country and it is the most proud moment of my career," Bellamy stated. "Becoming the Cymru head coach has always been my ultimate aspiration and I am prepared for the task ahead."

David Adams, the top football official at the FAW, helped find a new coach to replace Page with the help of the chief executive, Noel Mooney. Adams said that Bellamy was the best choice out of all the candidates they considered.

Bellamy's initial game will take place in his home country of Wales against Turkey in the Nations League starting in September, at Cardiff City Stadium, where he ended his professional career. Wales will then play against Montenegro in Podgorica three days later in the same tournament.

The 44-year-old's main goal is to guide Wales to the 2026 World Cup. He expressed his dedication to improving the team and is excited about the potential for success in Welsh football. He is eager to begin with the Nations League games scheduled for September.

Bellamy rejected the offer to continue playing at Burnley under their new coach, Scott Parker, who he previously played with at West Ham. He explained that becoming the manager of Wales has always been a lifelong dream that he couldn't pass up. He expressed his support for Scott Parker and the club, stating that he believes the team is in good hands with him.

Bellamy was almost hired as the Oxford United manager in 2018 when he was coaching at Cardiff's academy. However, he decided to withdraw from discussions at the last minute due to a change in ownership at the League One club at that time. This summer, he took on the role of acting head coach at Burnley following Kompany's move to Bayern Munich.

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