Roberto Mancini denies new rift with Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy has been one of Roberto Mancini's star players this term
Roberto Mancini has once again been forced to insist there is no rift between him and striker Craig Bellamy.
The Wales captain is reported to have a stormy relationship with boss Mancini but the Italian is adamant there are no ongoing problems with Bellamy.
"I continue to read that I have a problem with Craig Bellamy," he said.
"This is false. I do not have any problems with him. If I did he wouldn't play. I respect him. He works very well and always gives 100%."
Former Inter Milan chief Mancini controversially replaced Bellamy's childhood hero and fellow Welshman Mark Hughes as Eastlands boss in December despite the club being in the top six of the Premier League.
Mancini had to defend his relationship with firebrand Bellamy, who has a history of falling out with his coaches and team-mates, in December after leaving the 30-year-old out of their 2-0 win over Stoke City.
Then two months later, the City boss again denied that he sent Bellamy away from training but admitted the two had 'talks'.
Now Mancini has been forced to discuss the Bellamy issue again after it was reported that the 58-times capped Welshman wants to leave Manchester City in the summer as he is allegedly not happy with Mancini's training sessions and style of football.
And it was reported that Bellamy was allegedly at the centre of an investigation following an incident in the players' tunnel at the end of his team's 2-0 defeat by Everton at Eastlands last month.
It had been claimed Bellamy made comments as he left the field in support of David Moyes in the wake of the Everton manager's touchline bust-up with Mancini.
Bellamy, bought by Hughes for £14m in January 2009, has enjoyed arguably his finest season this term and has been one of big-money Manchester City's star players on their charge for a Champions League spot.
He rose to the big occasion this season and scored twice at both Premier League title hopefuls Manchester United and Chelsea this season - inspiring City to a shock 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge.
And his apparent unrest at Manchester City - despite their realistic top four push - has supposedly put Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp on alert.
Bellamy's former coach Mark Bowen - Hughes' right-hand-man who was also sacked by Manchester City in December - insists every top-flight club will be monitoring Bellamy's situation.
"What I would say is that almost every manager in the Premier League would take Craig tomorrow because he is an enormous talent," Bowen told BBC Wales' Sport Wales show.
Bowen also worked with Bellamy previously when he was Hughes' assistant with Wales' national team and at Blackburn Rovers.
And while Bowen acknowledges Bellamy is "demanding," he insists Bellamy is "not difficult."
"When we signed Craig everybody was saying why bring Craig Bellamy into your club because he will upset the apple cart," Bowen added.
"But we knew what he brings.
"All Craig does is demand the best whether you are a coach, manager or another player in his team - he demands the best and doesn't suffer footballing fools gladly.
"He wants to come into training and wants to learn and wants to improve.
"And if players, coaches and managers just feel they can tick a box and waffle their way through a training session, then he'll let you know in no uncertain terms.
"I've never felt Craig is difficult but he is very demanding of everybody and at times, and this can surprise some people, he can be very apologetic. He knows when he has overstepped the mark.
"But if you know the animal, there is no problems."
* Catch the full Mark Bowen interview on Sport Wales on BBC TWO Wales on Friday at 2100 BST
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