Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner spoke candidly about a time he lost £400K on a roulette wheel during an explosive interview with the Guardian.
Few players with as many as 136 Premier League appearances will be remembered as more of a meme as they were for the footballing exploits, but Bendtner falls into that bizarre category.
A full Denmark international at just 18-years-old, it looked as though the world was Bendtner’s oyster, but a stunt in progression left the 6ft 4in striker’s hopes of making it at the top hanging by a thread.
Now 32-years-old and reflecting on his career, and his mistakes, the Dane has provided insight into just what it was that went wrong for him at an early age to derail his journey to the top.
He provided a pretty good example of his behavioural problems off the pitch during an interview with the Guardian, during which he told a tale of a time he gambled away an astronomical amount of cash in one night:
“I’m way too drunk to sit at a table. That much I get. But roulette is a different matter. Red, black, red, black. How hard can it be?”
“After 90 minutes I’ve lost £400,000. Money I don’t have. My bank account is overdrawn and I’m bankrupt if my luck doesn’t turn. I stagger into the loos and splash water on my face. Then I find a cashier and get another £50,000 of chips.”
It’s easy to blame young players for getting caught up in the glitz and the glamour and losing their way, but in reality what Bendtner dearly needed at this point in his career was guidance.
He will no doubt reflect with regrets on what could have been, but his story provides an important lesson for budding youngsters hoping to make it in football.
That said, during his interview with the Guardian he did go on to note that he won some of the amount back – though just how much of the £400K that was is unclear.