Former Arsenal star Nicklas Bendtner has revealed his struggles with a gambling addiction, and revealed that he spent £400,000 in a single night.
He stated that this came at a point when he was suffering from a series of injuries at 23 and his time out of action saw him seek refuse in the world of betting to recreate the excitement he was missing on the field.
In an interview with the BBC, Nicklas Bendtner opened up on his issues, saying:
''At times it could seem like an addiction. I always felt I had it under control but that night was the sort of turning point for me. I knew this isn't the lifestyle I want," Bendtner said.
"When I had a lot of injuries on the pitch, I couldn't find that excitement level of going on, playing in front of 60,000. There wasn't anything that lived up to that. The only time I could get that competitive feeling was going to the casino."
"The higher the stakes, the higher the adrenaline rush. I was £400,000 down, but ended up winning quite a lot of it back, and only ended up losing £20,000 on the night. It felt terrible but after I won it back I had a really hard think at the hotel when I got home and just knew that was the end of my big gambling nights."
"I didn't want to be just another guy who played football and lost all his money and didn't use his brain. It was important for me to go back to my roots and re-gather. Looking back now I'm happy that it happened as I may not have got that wake-up call."
Nicklas Bendtner also revealed that he did not always have the requisite professionalism needed to stay on top of the game, often refusing to take advice from senior players in the dressing room, like when he squared off with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
Nicklas Bendtner and the growing problem of gambling in football
While Nicklas Bendtner might be the latest to come out with his struggles with betting, he would not be the last.
There have been several instances of top Premier League players losing fortunes due to gambling problems, including Paul Merson, David Bentley, and Keith Gillespie.
The issue of match-fixing in football has also caused cause for concern, with former FIFA president Sepp Blatter describing it as the 'biggest threat' to the future of football.Published 14 Nov 2020, 17:22 IST