Former Wales captain Craig Bellamy declared bankrupt owing almost £1.4m to HMRC

Bellamy is currently the assistant manager of Burnley. Credit: PA

Former Wales captain, Craig Bellamy, is facing financial ruin after being declared bankrupt.

The ex-Premier League footballer owes £1,398,071.20 to HMRC. He is now warning young footballers to be careful who they trust to run their finances.

The 43-year-old made 78 appearances for his country and played for Liverpool in two spells, Manchester City, Newcastle, West Ham, and Celtic among other clubs.

He became Wales captain when Ryan Giggs retired from international football in 2007, holding the armband for four years.

Court papers have shown that a petition was made against him by HMRC stating, "It is ordered that Craig Douglas Bellamy be adjudged bankrupt."

Bellamy now lives in a flat paid for by the Championship leaders Burnley where he is working as a young coach and assistant manager to Vincent Kompany.

In an interview with the Daily Mail he said, "I’m not a tax-dodger but I have been very naïve and HMRC have been pursuing me for unpaid tax for some time.

Bellamy is currently working as a young coach at Burnley. Credit: PA

"Everything I have had has been taken from me. If you get the wrong people advising you it all haemorrhages, it all dwindles. It has got to the point where bankruptcy is a relief.

"I know some people will probably think I have squandered my money on drinking or gambling or drugs. I haven’t.

"I can go quiet where you won’t hear from me but I won’t be down the pub. I have never touched drugs since I was young. I don’t gamble. I have never gambled. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But I have gambled on people unfortunately.

"The money I’ve earned, I can’t get a mortgage. Financially I have no future. The hurt of that. I can’t own anything. Everything’s gone."

Bellamy had two spells at Liverpool from 2006-2007 and 2011-2012 Credit: PA

The failed business ventures that have resulted in Bellamy’s financial ruin are said to include investments made on his behalf in property and businesses.

"I want this to be a warning to other players."

"Check everything, make sure the people advising you are regulated. If they are not regulated it’s the Wild West. Get your stuff audited by independent people, the equivalent of getting a second opinion.

"I was brought up in a generation of footballers where everything was done for you. Every bill. Wherever I was the club did everything for me.

"It makes you too vulnerable. It’s good for players to have their own responsibilities because one day the club will not be there.

"You will finish your career and you will still be a young man and when you finish who’s going to pay your stuff then? You are going to have to learn to survive in the real world."

"People say footballers should know better but why should I know better? I left school at 15. I felt like such a naïve, stupid individual.

"I didn’t want to drink or gamble but if I’d lost money that way maybe I could be kinder to myself. If I had done it to myself then I could get on with fixing it.

Bellamy finished his playing career at Cardiff City in 2014 Credit: PA

"I don’t trust people because of this. As soon as you do trust someone this happens. Deep down I knew things weren’t right but I didn’t want to confront it. I didn’t know how to confront it."

Bellamy made his Wales debut under Bobby Gould in 1998 and carried on playing for his country a further 77 times until 2013.

He had two spells with Cardiff City, leading the club into the Premier League as their captain under Malky Mackay's management in 2013. He hung up his playing boots at the end of that Premier League campaign.

Bellamy came within a whisker of succeeding Chris Coleman as Wales manager. It was down to him and Giggs and the six-man FAW committee making the decision were split 3-3 on the two men.

In the end it came down to the casting vote of then FAW President David Griffiths and he plumped for Giggs.

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