In 2009, Nicklas Bendtner boldly proclaimed that he’d be known as a world-class striker within five years.
Things didn’t quite work out that way.
By 2014, he’d certainly garnered a reputation…for being a maverick, not an elite footballer.
A quick glance at his colourful rap sheet will tell you why.
He says he’s been unfairly painted as a "psychopath". But more than once, he hasn’t helped himself.
Like, for instance, the time when he was snapped falling out of a nightclub with his jeans around his ankles hours after Arsenal’s devastating Champions League semi-final defeat to Manchester United.
Or when he claimed his life had been saved through divine intervention after a serious car crash?
Then there’s the time he caused criminal damage to his own luxury apartment block after he and his friends got the sudden urge for a "night swim" in the building’s pool.
Just last week he was sentenced to 50 days in jail for assaulting a taxi driver while out with his girlfriend, model Philine Roepstorff.
There’s more. It’s all in here, the life and (sometimes wild) times of the man dubbed ‘Lord Bendtner’…
Born and raised in the Danish capital Copenhagen, as a child Bendtner starred for Tarnby Boldklub before joining FC Copenhagen’s feeder club, Kjobenhavns, in 1998.
He signed for Arsenal in 2004, at the age of 16. Initially, he looked an exciting prospect, forming a prolific starike partnership with Arturo Lupoli in the reserves.
Then issues began to arise.
In 2006, the then 18-year-old was the youngest player named in the Denmark squad for the 2006 European Under-21 Championships.
Apparently, he wasn’t intimated by the older lads. Having replaced Morten ‘Duncan’ Rasmussen in the starting line-up, Bendtner made way for his fellow striker midway through the match against the Netherlands.
He later told the press the substitution was a mistake, asserting that he was superior to Rasmussen. He was given a telling off and had to apologise to his teammates.
By 2008, he was in and out of the Gunners first team. The only problem was that he really didn’t get along with fellow striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
According to Adebayor, there was already bad blood between them after a disagreement over Bendtner’s refusal to remove his shoes in the dressing room – a club rule.
When Bendtner gave him "the finger" during a League Cup semi-final against rivals Tottenham, a physical altercation ensued. The Dane was left bleeding.
Adebayor said: "Nicklas showed me the finger. I am very sorry. You cannot show a partner the finger."
The following year, 2009, saw Bendtner turn 21. Time to grow up? Not quite. He seemed more intent on getting his bad behaviour out of his system.
In the May, he was pictured leaving Boujis nightclub in Kensington, London, at 4am, looking worse for wear with his belt undone and his jeans around his ankles.
A few hours earlier he’d played the final half hour as the Gunners were beaten 3-1 at home by Manchester United in a Champions League semi-final.
He later apologised, saying: "I may be young, but my actions were a poor error of judgment and something I deeply regret. I want to apologise to the club and the fans for letting them and myself down."
August brought a new season, giving him a chance to make a fresh start.
But it began in bizarre circumstances. He announced that his squad number would be changing from 26 to 52, saying it was a "special number to me personally".
He also offered to cover the cost of replacing anyone’s shirt featuring his old number. It reportedly cost him somewhere in the region of £10,000.
Some speculated that it was a reflection of his new salary, £52,000, while others claimed he thought he would become twice as good by doubling his squad number.
He eventually cleared things up, explaining his lucky number was seven, but that Tomas Rosicky had already claimed it, so he chose 52, which is 5+2.
A month later, he was involved in a serious car crash on the A1. Driving to training in his Aston Martin, he ended up in a field after swerving to avoid a car, which cut in front of him.
He got out, stripped naked, promptly checked his entire body for any damage.
Explaining his actions, he said: "My body is my livelihood and I was desperate to find out if I was OK.
"So I took off all my clothes, even my pants, picked up a wing mirror that had come off the car and checked myself over, front and back.
"Then I climbed back into the car to find my phone. I rang the club to say I’d be late for training."
The car was written off. He was more fortunate, walking away with bruises which led to him missing the next two matches.
He put his lucky escape down to divine intervention, adding: "I believe that somebody held his hand over me. I don’t know what or who, but looking in a broader perspective I simply felt somebody assisting me.
"I believe fully that this was just not my time. It was not time for my life to end."
A few weeks later, he gave his most infamous quote to the Guardian .
Talking about his self-confidence, he said: "Within five years I want to be the top scorer in the Premier League and I want to be known as a world-class striker. And it will happen. Trust me, it will happen.
"I look around at other players, I see my own ability and I can’t see anything that tells me it won’t happen. I’m sure people will think ‘What is he talking about?’
"But as I have done before, and as I will do again, I will sit at the other end and laugh at those people when it is all done."
In November 2009, he was spotted in Hyde Park with former Baroness Caroline luel-Brockdorff, a Danish TV personality 13 years his senior and with links to the country’s royal family.
They had a son together, born in December in 2010. Seven weeks after his birth, they called off their engagement, going their separate ways.
Bendtner joined Sunderland on a season-long loan in 2011, vowing never to play for Arsenal again, accusing the club of not giving him enough opportunities after his car crash.
At Euro 2012, there was more trouble. He was fined £80,000 and banned for one match after he celebrated a goal by lowering his shorts to reveal Paddy Power branded underwear.
The following season, he joined Juventus on loan. In March 2013, while playing for the Turin club, he was banned from driving for three years and fined £100,000 for drink-driving in Copenhagen.
According to reports, he was spotted by police driving against the traffic. It earned him a six-month ban from the Denmark national team.
Now, remember when Bendtner vowed never to play for Arsenal again? Well, he did. In September 2013, he made his first appearance for the club in two years.
Two months later, he was cautioned for criminal damage after an incident at his luxury apartment block in Bushey, Herts.
Apparently, it was all because of a sudden urge for a night swim.
He said: "On Saturday night after our win against Southampton I went out with family and friends for dinner. After our dinner we all wanted a night swim in my gym so we changed to shorts and brought towels down.
"As we arrived at the gym my key fob changed the colour from red (locked) to green (open) but the door remained closed.
"We thought the door was stuck so we tried to open it and it caused some damage.
"I apologise for any inconvenience for my neighbours and I have paid in full. We had no part in damaging anything else in the building."
The plan was to prove his worth to the north London club, but in March 2014, with his contract almost up, he found himself in trouble again.
Bendtner was accused of threatening a Copenhagen taxi driver before taking down his trousers and rubbing his genitals against the vehicle.
He told a Danish newspaper: "People think I’m a psychopath. The image that people have about me is that I’m all about partying – that I’m indifferent to football – and it’s as far from reality as could possibly be."
He was released at the end of the season.
A move to Wolfsburg followed, before a spell back in England at Nottingham Forest. Now 30, he’s playing for Rosenborg in Norway, where he’s scored 24 goals in 50 appearances.
Last week, he was sentenced to 50 days in jail for breaking a Copenhagen taxi driver’s jaw after refusing to pay the £5 fare. He’s appealed the sentence.
Will it finally be a wake up call? We’ll have to wait and see….
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