Curious case of ‘Lord’ Bendtner from pants and prison to dating royalty

Nicklas Bendtner was something of an oddity, never quite as bad as many would harshly want you to believe but nowhere near as good as he himself would tell you.

Arsenal would pluck the promising striker from his native Denmark as a 16-year-old, and Bendtner would impress at reserve level, prompting Arsene Wenger to initially give him opportunities in cup matches.

The player would soon find himself on the fringes of the first team and by the age of 19, he would already have Champions League goals to his name and famously broke his Premier League duck with the winner in the north London Derby in 2007.

He would also find his way into the Danish national team, scoring against the likes of Portugal and Germany despite his relative inexperience.

But at the age of 33, Bendtner has called time on his career.

There was evident talent but also perhaps a level of self belief that didn’t quite do it justice.

Already standing at a towering 6’4”, Bendtner was arguably even dwarfed by his own ego, making statements about how good he was and could be before he had even established himself.

“If you ask me if I am one of the best strikers in the world, I’d say ‘yes’ because I believe it,” is quite widely attributed to him in his formative years.

"It does not really matter to me who is fit and available," he is quoted in the Guardian in response to Arsenal signing Andrey Arshavin in 2009. "I should start every game, I should be playing every minute of every match and always be in the team."

"I want to be top scorer in the Premier League, top scorer at the World Cup and, within five years, I want to be among the best strikers in the world. Trust me, it will happen."

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He said after winning Denmark’s Player of the year award, also in 2009.

Speaking years later, Bendtner would admit he might have got ahead of himself as a youngster.

Playing alongside another striker not exactly lacking in self-confidence at the Emirates in Emmanual Adebayor, the two players would famously fail to get on.

Things came to ahead when the two would clash at White Hart Lane in a league cup semi final defeat where they would be dragged apart by their own teammates after Adebayor apparently headbutted the Dane.

Bendtner would feature prominently for Arsenal in 2008/09, scoring 14 times in all competitions but equally being criticised by supporters for his less than convincing conversion rate in front of goal.

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Following defeat in the Champions League semi final to Manchester United that spring, Bendtner would be snapped stumbling out of a nightclub at 4am with his belt undone and trousers falling down.

"Reaching a Champions League final is one of my biggest dreams and getting knocked out was a massive blow,” he would state in his subsequent apology. “However, no matter how disappointed I was, it does not excuse my behaviour later in the evening.”

The following season, Bendtner would immediately make headlines when he unexpectedly switched his squad number from 26 to 52 prompting him to have to reimburse any fans who had purchased shirts with the original number – a move that was reported to have cost him £10,000.

The striker would then destroy his Aston Martin after crashing into a field on his way to training.

"My body is my livelihood and I was desperate to find out if I was OK,” he would say afterwards.

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"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."

It was around this time he would be linked romantically with Danish socialite and former Baroness Caroline Luel-Brockdorff, who was reported to be close to the Danish royal family and with a net worth of £265million.

It was this association, along with his inflated opinion of himself that would contribute to the player earning the tongue-in-cheek nickname, ‘Lord Bendtner’ from fans.

The couple would have a child together before breaking off their engagement in 2011.

He would then go on to date famous Danish actress Julie Zangenberg, star of 'sexy vampire thriller', Heartless.

Injury would cause him to miss much of the next two seasons but he would celebrate his first career hat trick with a treble against Porto in the Champions League before scoring his second a year later in a 5-0 FA Cup trashing of Leyton Orient.

Sadly, that was to be the end of the highs of his time in London, with his lasting impression on fans being his poor touch at the Nou Camp against Barcelona in 2011 that would have taken Arsenal in the Champions League quarter final had he scored.

He would move to Sunderland on loan that summer scoring eight times but couldn’t stay away from the headlines after being arrested alongside teammate Lee Cattermole over damage to five parked cars after a night out in Newcastle.

Charges against Bendtner would be dropped but Cattermole would receive a caution.

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Bendtner would still impress for his country and by the time of his last international cap in 2018, he would sit eighth on the all-time top scorers for Denmark with 30.

However, one goal in particular stands out from the rest.

At Euro 2012, with the Danes trailing 2-1 against Portugal, Bendtner would soar in the air to reach a Lars Jacobsen cross to level the scores in an eventual 3-2 defeat.

Wheeling away in celebration, Bendtner would lift his shirt to reveal the waistband of his boxers which happened to sport the logo of bookmaker Paddy Power.

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This stunt would earn him a whopping £80,000 fine and one match ban from FIFA.

Surprisingly, a loan move to Juventus followed in which Bendtner would fail to score a single goal and equally embarrassingly, had no shirts sold with his name in the club shop.

This didn’t stop him fully embracing the Serie A title celebrations, pictured puffing on a cigar while out with teammates.

The latter stages of his career saw spells at Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest, and Rosenborg.

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  • After being convicted of assaulting a taxi driver, Nicklas Bendtner served a 50-day prison sentence last year.

    He subsequently signed for hometown club FC Copenhagen, who were overrun by media interest in his arrival, but the move didn’t work out.

    Most recently, the player is rumoured to be set to star in his own reality show alongside model girlfriend Philine Roepstorff to, in his words, 'start some new adventures in life'.

    After his eventful career, this would certainly be ‘must see TV’.

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