“I don’t care if I go to jail!” – John Arne Riise recalls the moment former Liverpool teammate Craig Bellamy attacked him with a golf club
John Arne Riise revealed he wanted to knock Craig Bellamy out after the striker attacked him with a golf club in 2007.
The former Liverpool stars were involved in an extraordinary bust-up before the Reds’ Champions League victory over Barcelona.
In an extract from his new autobiography, Riise spoke to The Guardian and revealed exactly what happened prior to the game during a training camp in the Algarve.
He said: “We stayed at Barringtons Golf and Spa hotel, which was located in an exclusive resort called Vale do Lobo. I shared a room with Daniel Agger. On Thursday it was decided we should have a team dinner without the trainers and managers. At these dinners the players were allowed to have a beer or two, something I never took advantage of. But a couple of beers wasn’t going to hurt anyone else. If only they had managed to stick to a couple.
“Steven Gerrard had called the owner and booked a private room for us at Monty’s Restaurant and Bar. Monty’s was situated in an area near the beach. The interior was black and white, and I remember seeing a karaoke machine in the bar.
“A couple of the lads started drinking before the food arrived. Among them was Craig Bellamy. Pretty soon a microphone appeared on the table and Bellamy bellowed into it: “Riise’s gonna sing! Riise’s gonna sing!” He started before the food was served and continued while we ate. He was already quite drunk and I was already quite annoyed.
“Pretty soon Bellamy was over by the karaoke machine with the microphone in the hand: “Riise’s gonna sing! Riise’s gonna sing!” Furious, I went over to him: “I’m not singing. Shut the f**k up or else I’m gonna smash you!” He screamed back: “I’m gonna f****g kill you, you ginger c**t!”
“Bellamy shut up, and I left with Sami Hyypiä – who was just getting a little tipsy – and got a taxi back to the hotel. Agger hadn’t wanted to leave yet, so I promised to leave the door unlocked. Back in the room I fell asleep almost immediately. It was no later than half twelve.
“I woke in the dark to hear someone opening the door. Obviously I thought it was Agger. I turned, but my eyes were half-asleep, and I didn’t see anything in the sudden, bright glare. But something made me realise that it wasn’t Agger. And soon I could see him – Craig Bellamy at the foot of my bed with a golf club in his hands.
“Steve Finnan, who shared a room with Bellamy, was there too, but he just stood there. Bellamy raised the club over his head and swung as hard as he could. He tried to hit my shins, which would have ended my career, but I managed to pull my leg away in time.
“I jumped out of bed, pulled off the sheet and held it between us like I was some kind of half-awake matador. Bellamy sputtered: “Nobody disrespects me like that in front of the lads!” He was completely gone.
“I don’t care if I go to jail! My kids have enough money for school and everything. I don’t care. I’ll f*****g do you!” He raised the club and swung again. This time he connected. Full force on my hip. I was so pumped with adrenaline that I didn’t feel the pain, but he hit me hard. It was an iron.
“The next blow smashed into my thigh. I tried to hold up the sheet, but he continued to strike. He could seriously injure me. At the same time, I knew I could take Bellamy if I needed to. I was bigger and stronger.
“Finnan stood by the door. Maybe he was there to stop Bellamy if it got too bad, but he was short and skinny. He wouldn’t have stood a chance once I made my mind up. However, I knew that if I responded to Bellamy’s attack, my career at Liverpool would be over.
“I tried to calm him down: “Put down the club and let’s fight with our fists. Come on! A proper fight!” He just stood and glowered at me. Then he said: “Tomorrow at nine o’clock we’ll meet and finish this.” Then he left.”
The game finished to 2-1 to Liverpool amazingly thanks to goals from both Bellamy and Riise in Nou Camp.
Despite Deco’s first half header, Bellamy equalised with a header which he celebrated by running to the corner and mimicking a golf swing.
In a stunning turn of events, he then turned provide for Riise’s winner in the second half, although the Norwegian was left less than impressed by his teammate’s satirical sense of humour.
“I felt like knocking him [Bellamy] out,” Riise continued. “I would have been justified in giving him a pounding but I had too much respect for Benítez and the team. We were about to play an important match. There was enough commotion as it was.
“Bellamy apologised but only when he was more or less forced to by the manager. He ended up with an £80,000 fine. I received no punishment, contrary to the reports of some journalists.
“Barcelona took the lead at Camp Nou, Deco nodding in a header, triggering cheers from more than 90,000 fans in the stands.
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“They had us under pressure, and there was a feeling everything could unravel. Frank Rijkaard had assembled an impressive team. Not only did he have the world’s best player, Ronaldinho, but also a brilliant young talent named Lionel Messi.
“Two minutes before the break Bellamy equalised. He celebrated by running towards the corner flag, where he stopped and made a swinging motion, like he was holding a golf club. I thought it was f*****g disrespectful. The celebration also revealed the sincerity of his apology.”
Source: SportsLatest TS