Football has been littered with its fair share of colourful personalities over its time. The rise of the footballer to the celebrity is now an all too inherent feature of the beautiful game. With Fleet Street's finest and photographers everywhere now go looking for any opportunity to expose the slightest of misdemeanours, and in recent years the antics of Barton, Balotelli and Nicklas Bendtner alike have all made headlines for the wrong reasons.
So to take Nicklas Bendtner, a self proclaimed admirer of his own talent is no stranger to trouble due to antics off the pitch. Remember him stumbling out of a nightclub with his trousers round his ankles just hours after his Arsenal side lost a Champions League semi final? His decision making continues to baffle, and this week he found himself in the headlines again.
Having scored two goals against Portugal in a tense Group C encounter on Wednesday, Bendtner celebrated his second by, yes, unveiling his underpants again. This time to unveil the logo of betting company Paddy Power, something UEFA are investigating for breaking their marketing rules.
Whatever you make of Bendtner, there is some talent in there somewhere, even if there is no common sense. His goals in Lviv almost single handedly salvaged a critical point for his country if it wasn't for some impressive Portuguese resilience. He also maintained good form in the Premier League this year whilst on loan at Sunderland, but has expressed his desire to never play for parent club Arsenal again.
Having been with the Gunners since 2006, the Dane has had more than his fair share of chances in North London. Originally deployed as one of the League Cup youngsters, Bendtner eventually worked his way into the first team, but has since become a controversial figure amongst the Arsenal faithful. His poor work ethic and seemingly hapless finishing at times makes him the scapegoat for many fans, while others still have blind faith in the youngster, insisting he just needs to get his head down.
Therein lies Nicklas Bendtner's problem. His inability to get his head down is forming a crucial factor to the direction in which his career is heading. The pants down against Portugal stint is the latest in a long line of incidents that keep him in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, and continuous misdemeanours are taking attention away from any successes on the pitch. While he may consider himself to be one of the best in the game, his behaviour is preventing just that from happening.
Bendtner may not want to play for the Gunners, but Arsenal may not want him to play for them if their much talked about clearout does happen, as it would be expected for Bendtner to be on the list. A move elsewhere may help the Danish striker realise he isn't 'the best striker in the world' and that his baffling decision making has not gone unnoticed.
His career may well prove to take a turn for the worst should he leave Arsenal, and the need to concentrate on his football rather than inflating his ego or off the field antics will be further accentuated. Bendtner may revel in being a character, but his career at the top is beginning to suffer from it.
Written by David Donnelly
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