NICKLAS BENDTNER has opened up on “letting the black wolf rule” following his retirement.
He shone during a loan spell at Birmingham City during the 2006/07 season.
After returning from St Andrew’s, he earned a place in the first team under Arsene Wenger.
Over four seasons he scored some vital goals but struggled to make himself the first-choice striker at the club.
He then enjoyed a successful two-year stint at Rosenborg in which he scored 35 goals in 86 games which led to a dream move to Copenhagen.
He only managed nine games for the Danish side, scoring one goal.
He retired in 2021 but has now admitted that he did not think the decision “through properly” as the Covid pandemic limited his career options.
Bendtner also suggested that he has considered returning to the game, but his body is “ruined”.
In a new documentary, he said: “That’s why it happened with China.
“And because of my reputation, I couldn’t get to other clubs where I wanted to go.
“I experienced that some coaches said, ‘We actually really want you, but we’re not going to take you’.
“The story had caught up with me. Regardless of what I said, there was something in black and white that did not speak in my favour.
“Then I stopped my career.”
It came so suddenly that it was over
He continued: “I hadn’t learned to deal with it, and for me it came so suddenly that it was over.
“I hadn’t even had time to think it through properly, whether it was the right thing to do.
“Sometimes even today… I mean, for the last three or four years, I’ve thought almost every day whether I should try to come back.
“Should I give it another chance? But for some strange reason, I haven’t been able to get my legs back over the chalk line.
“I think it has a lot to do with the body. It is ruined”.
Football has been a big miss for Bendtner, as he admitted that the pitch was where he “belonged”.
He added: “For me, football is love. It’s the only thing I’ve really loved doing and it’s the only thing that gave me a free space.
“A place where I belonged.
“As soon as I stepped onto the field, all other problems disappeared.
“I really liked that. But it is difficult to find in the same way elsewhere.”
Bendtner admitted that he took time to find peace within himself.
He said: “I have not deliberately tried to hurt or disappoint anyone.
“But I sometimes have a bit of a difficult personality, even though I have a pure heart, and so I may have put some people in more difficult situations than I should have.
“So now I can sit here, older, and think… Why? What happened? I may well regret that.”
I let the black wolf inside decide instead of the white one
He had hit newspaper front pages during and after his career for antics such as flashing PaddyPower boxers during Euro 2012.
As a result of that action, he was fined £80,000.
In 2018, he was jailed for 50 days for assaulting a taxi driver in Copenhagen.
Bendtner also fell out with his father, Thomas, after he had become his advisor as he believed that he’d embezzled money out of his jewellery company.
He explained about his decision making at that time that he “let the black wolf inside decide instead of the white one.”
He claimed: “There are many things in it, because it is an inflamed relationship, but I do not want to go into it in more detail.
“He also declined to be part of the documentary, so out of respect I will keep it more general.
“Looking back, we definitely should have kept family and work roles separate.
“There were no bad intentions behind it.
“We tried to do what we felt was right, but none of us were smart enough to know the difference, or the outcome.”
He continued: “He was my father, best friend and confidant. I had a fantastic childhood.
“So, a completely fantastic childhood with some fantastic parents who have been very supportive, driving me to football and all that stuff.”
Mega pay increase
Bendtner’s successful loan spell at Birmingham saw him rewarded with a new contract at Arsenal in which he wage went up from £400 to £10,000-per-week.
Former footballer Liam Brady spoke in the documentary and claimed that Bendtner got “worse” as he achieved more success.
He said: “The more successful he became, the worse he became. He thought he could just party and drink.”
But when he was back at Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger it was harder for the Dane to avoid getting caught.
He admitted: “When things go as fast as they did for me, there is a golden opportunity to take hold of a young lad and try to put some framework in place.
“But everyone just let me do what suited me.
“No one said no, no one gave me consequences. That made it difficult.
“Deep down, I knew I wasn’t where I should be.
“When at the same time I have a personality where I want to experience the world – taste it all and try a lot of different things – then it would have been healthy if someone had helped me to reduce it.
“Somehow, I taught myself what made me happy when I was sad.
“But in relation to football, it was perhaps not always the most appropriate things I did.”
The documentary, Nicklas Bendtner – The Portait, will be released as a series in three episodes on Viaplay with a premiere on February 12.
It has been produced as part of a collaboration with the author Rune Skyum-Nielsen, who is behind Bendtner’s biography, ‘Begge sider’.
Bendtner insisted that he wants to tell the “true story” of his life.
He said: “Many sports documentaries are just a big glossy picture.
“Then you hear about adultery on the side or an extra child, or I don’t know what the hell, and it never comes up.
“But then you never get the opportunity to really understand that person. Then it might as well be fiction.
“I want to tell the true story. It must be as it was.”
Bendtner’s career highs and lows
Nicklas Bendtner played for eight clubs during his senior club career scoring 117 goals.
He endured an up-and-down career in which he burst into life during a loan spell at Birmingham City in 2006.
He helped the club earn promotion to the Premier League.
The striker returned to Arsenal and became a member in the first-team.
In 2010 he scored a Champions League hat-tick against Porto.
Two years later, he hit a low as he was banned and fined for his Paddy Power boxer stunt at Euro 2012.
In 2013, he became a Serie A champion, having won the league with Juventus during a loan spell.
While at Rosenburg, he discovered his best scoring form as he finished as the top scorer in the Eliteserien.
But in 2018 he was at his lowest as he was jailed for 50 days for assaulting a taxi driver in Copenhagen.
Here is a look at Bendtner’s career by numbers…
- Arsenal (2005-14) – 171 games, 47 goals
- Birmingham City (2006-07, loan) – 48 games, 13 goals
- Sunderland (2011-12, loan) – 30 games, 8 goals
- Juventus (2012-13, loan) – 11 games, 0 goals
- Wolfsburg (2014-16) – 47 games, 9 goals
- Nottingham Forest (2016-17) – 17 games, 2 goals
- Rosenborg (2017-19) – 86 games, 35 goals
- FC Copenhagen (2019) – 9 games, 1 goal
National team: 81 matches and 30 goals for Denmark – number eight on the list of most international goals in history
Career honours: Serie A x 1, FA Cup x 1 and German Cup x 1
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