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The 34-year-old admits he has been forced to listen to his body and hang up his boots despite receiving offers from clubs in England and abroad to play another season

Cardiff City forward Craig Bellamy has announced his retirement from football.

The 34-year-old made his first professional appearance in 1997 for Norwich City and went on to represent Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester City in an illustrious career, while also winning 78 caps for Wales.

After joining Cardiff on a permanent basis in 2012, following an earlier loan spell, he was able to help his boyhood club into the Premier League for the first time in their history.

However, Cardiff finished bottom of the table and Bellamy, who featured in 22 games this season, has now decided to call time on his career.

"It’s been on my mind to finish playing for the last couple of years, but this time I've had to make a decision. I've had to listen to my body," he told Wales Online.

"I guess over the years I've become accustomed to the pain from various injuries, 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."

Bellamy revealed he had received offers from abroad to postpone his decision for one more season.

"Of course I want to keep playing, that's the best thing for any footballer," he added. "But I'm looking forward to not having to put my body through the pain, I have to say.

"I could go to the Major Soccer League (MLS) across the Atlantic, I've had offers from clubs in England.

"But it's not just the playing and training, it's the maintenance work I have to do on my body in order to be able to play. The extra hour of strengthening work I have to do after training, that type of thing.

"I'm taking my full coaching badges. I've got A, B and C, I just need to do the Pro-Licence, which will prepare me properly for management."

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