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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 15, 2006

Signing Bellamy no risk, insists Benitez

Rafael Benitez believes playing for Liverpool will tame controversial Wales striker Craig Bellamy.

The Welsh marksman makes his debut for the Anfield club today in a friendly at Wrexham after his £6.5million move from Blackburn.

The Anfield chief is well aware of Bellamy's reputation for off-field trouble.

But Benitez believes that the fact that Cardiff-born Bellamy has achieved a boyhood dream of joining the club he has supported all his life will concentrate his mind on achieving his football goals at Liverpool.

Benitez said: 'We know about the past, but we think the future can be very good. For him and us.

'We knew about his problems, and have talked about them. But I think it will be a lot easier for him and us than people think. Craig is a more complete player than Djibril Cisse and he is perfect for the English game.'

Benitez added: 'He's a good player, not a risk. If he has a problem here, I hope it is with our coaches and not me.

'But we can go forward with him and these type of players can be important in difficult games when there is no space.

'He can beat defenders and score goals, a fine player with talents that we need.

'When a player has some problems in his past it is a risk, but from speaking to the player you can see he is more mature now. I think he knows that this move is important for him and he wants to be successful in a top side. This is the opportunity for him.'

He added: 'We spoke with him face to face and the response of the player was fantastic. It was similar to when I was talking to Robbie Fowler before he returned to the club.

'You could see he was a Liverpool fan and you could see he was desperate to play for us. I think this desire can be the difference between the Bellamy that we knew in the past and the Bellamy that maybe we will see in the future.'

Benitez said: 'If he starts scoring goals, people will not worry about his past. Many people tell me it is a very good sighing, for me it is easy. He will show people his desire and that he is a very good player on the pitch.

'He has the ability we need - pace, goals and running. For the English market it was a very good price and maybe he can be the difference for us next season.'