Craig Bellamy admits he is 'in awe' of new club Liverpool and is relishing the chance of playing at the very top level for his boyhood favourites.
Bellamy, a £6.5million summer signing from Blackburn, makes his Liverpool debut in tomorrow's friendly at Wrexham and revealed his driving inspiration during the lonely hours of recovery from five knee operations was to win this golden chance at the club he supported as a boy.
The Wales striker accepts he has arrived at Anfield with plenty of off-field baggage from a turbulent career which has seen clubs spend a total of £23million for his services.
His traumatic departure from Newcastle just underlines the bridges he still has to build with new fans.
But Bellamy said: 'A few people would question me after having five knee operations. But the belief in me that this day would come has been my inspiration.
'I have spent days, weeks, doing rehab, on my own after everyone else has gone home. I would be thinking I would not be able to get fit but the desire to reach the moment in my career I am now at has been the driving belief.
'It is what kept me going when I was younger, to get this opportunity at this level and with Liverpool. To fight through all those injuries and operations.
'I am always going to be labelled as a player with baggage, it's one of those things. I can say, `look I'm a really nice guy,' but people will still say what they want to say.
'All I can do is try as hard as I can to improve, the only thing I really care about is to try to make my team better and how I work around the training ground.'
Bellamy added: 'I have played for some big clubs, but what I am missing is trophies and that is what I aim to put right here. Otherwise it will all be a bit of a failure.
'I was happy at Blackburn, I had one other offer, but spoke to Mark Hughes while we were negotiating a new contract and I said I would give him my word to make a decision at the end of the summer and not let it drag on into pre-season. That wouldn't have been fair on Blackburn.
'I am grateful to Mark and Blackburn, but I did have other opportunities when I left Newcastle, it wasn't quite 'come here, no one else will have you'.
'But I had to make sure I went to the right club for me. I knew Mark, and the coaches like Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki from their time running Wales.
'They were people I really trusted and they knew the situation I had just come from, they knew what I had been through.
'Everyone at Blackburn could not do enough for me at that time, disappointed as I am to be leaving, it would only have been for Liverpool. They understood that.'
Now Bellamy aims to grab with both hands his chance to become a Liverpool legend.
He said: 'This is a special honour, and anyone who has supported a club and then gets the chance to play for them knows it is a surreal situation.
'I'm nervous, I don't want to come here just to get Liverpool on my CV, I want to be a big hit, and be remembered for doing really well as a player.
'That's what is driving me now, that hunger. It's one thing coming to a club like Liverpool but quite another to be remembered as a really good player.
'This is a completely different level. But I have worked hard for this, I have trained hard and always believed that this opportunity would come for me.'