There doesn’t seem to be week that passes in football without the mention of ‘Lord’ Bendtner. The enigmatic Danish striker found himself again in the spotlight this week after Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg terminated his contract 14 months early. It came as little surprise that Bendtner’s relationship with Wolfsburg would come to an abrupt end after recent misdemeanour’s forced his employers to call it a day, his last contribution to the first team came back in February and the column inches began to grow once again after reports of oversleeping and driving rival vehicles. It’s not the first time Bendtner’s off field antics are read about and it won’t be the last.
It seems the word expectation seems to follow Nicklas Bendtner wherever he goes in his football career. Aged 28 with 72 international caps it appears the opportunity to play first team football for a top European club may have been hindered for the final time. His recent employers were in touching distance of a first ever Champions League Semi-final, the sort of game many expected Bendtner to be playing in regularly when he broke on to English football scene 10 years ago. Wolfsburg unfortunately succumbed to the genius of Cristiano Ronaldo and was knocked out, as their season is close to a finish it was back in February that Bendtner made his last appearance for the Wolves after 2 bizarre incidents to add to hill tally of personal antics lead to club fines.
“I just slept in and didn’t hear my alarm,”
Posting a picture on Instagram of yourself getting into a Mercedes is not uncommon amongst footballers but when your employer’s main backer is Volkswagen it spells trouble, a misconduct fine followed for disrespecting the club brand. One month later he received a second club fine and was forced to publicly apologize after oversleeping and missing training, 45 minutes late on a Monday morning is walking a tight rope for any employee but when you’re Nicklas Bendtner and you have the reputation that follows it spells a media circus. Bendtner told the German press “I just slept in and didn’t hear my alarm,” The Car posts stopped and were replaced by images of him training and wearing designer hats but the return to first team action from gaffer Dieter Hecking never transpired, the damage yet again seemed to have been done.
In what seemed a fresh start for the Dane, Nicklas Bendtner’s Wolfsburg career will unfortunately be remembered more for the off field incident and training ground ban rather than last season’s Europa League goal tally or the 2015 German Super Cup impact against Bayern Munich. A hat-trick for Denmark in a 3-2 friendly win over USA papered over the cracks of a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign that saw him hauled off after 60 minutes in the play-off second leg to neighbours Sweden, that game saw another larger than life talisman dominate the headlines but for the right reasons as Zlatan Ibrahimović scored a brace.
So after 49 games and 9 goals since signing in the summer of 2014 from Arsenal, the 6ft 4 striker is looking for a new club, the next move is one many will be intrigued to see, burned bridges in Germany, Italy and England may lead the Lord to follow Daniel Agger and return to his Danish homeland, or maybe the riches of China’s Super League would entice. But either way the expectation of being a world beater will always be held in the same breath as the off field antics that we’re commonly used to hearing.