Former Arsenal striker to serve 50 days behind bars after dropping appeal against assault conviction
Former Arsenal star Nicklas Bendtner is heading to prison after dropping his appeal against an assault conviction.
The 30-year-old striker, capped 81 times by Denmark and currently playing for Rosenborg in Norway, was found guilty of a violent attack on a taxi driver in Copenhagen in September and sentenced to 50 days in jail.
He initially appealed against the verdict, but the BBC reports that he has now agreed with the attorney general in Copenhagen to drop his appeal.
Bendtner’s lawyer, Anders Nemeth, told the broadcaster: “Even though he disagrees with the verdict, he would rather focus on his club and family.”
For the time being, Bendtner remains a free man while the court decides when he will start his sentence. His club has issued a statement stating their continued support for the player.
“Nicklas has regretted the incident and he is taking his sentence,” said Rosenborg’s general manager, Tove Moe Dyrhaug.
“If we make mistakes, it is important that we take responsibility for our actions. Bendtner has his employment relationship with Rosenborg. The verdict from Denmark does not change that. We are supportive and take care of our employee.”
Bendtner was arrested after a night out in the Danish capital ended in violence. The row began when the player, who was with his girlfriend, refused to pay £4.80 taxi fare. Words were exchanged and the taxi driver threw an object at Bendtner, who then punched the driver, breaking his jaw.
During his trial, Bendtner admitted to hitting the driver but said he had acted in self-defence. “I hit him in the head with my hand,” he told the court. “I thought the driver would hurt me. As we confronted each other, we lifted our arms at the same time, and I hit him first.”
Bendtner, who earned a reported £50,000-a-week during his nine seasons at Arsenal, was also fined 1,500 kroner (£179), and ordered to pay the cab driver £1,000 in compensation. The cabbie was acquitted of violence but fined £350 for using his telephone while driving and not wearing his seatbelt.
It’s not the first fine that Bendtner has received in his professional career. In 2012 he was told to cough up £80,000 by Uefa after exposing his underwear while celebrating scoring for Denmark in the European Championship.
The governing body condemned the incident as a brazen publicity stunt for a bookmakers whose name was printed on his pants. Bendtner was also hit with a one-match international suspension.
That same year, while on loan at Sunderland, the player was charged with five counts of criminal damage to cars after being arrested along with Black Cats teammate Lee Cattermole. The Dane was subsequently cleared, while Cattermole accepted a conditional caution and paid for the damage.
Bendtner’s latest conviction marks another low in his fading career, which began with such promise when he made his debut for Arsenal as a teenager in 2005.
Never short on self-confidence, he was dubbed “Lord Bendtner” by Gooners, a nod not just to his then aristocratic girlfriend, Baroness Caroline Iuel-Brockdorff, but also to his imperious manner.
Jacques Crevoisier, Arsenal’s former psychologist, told Swedish magazine Offside that Bendtner “is wired differently to the rest of us”, a quote brought up by The Guardian in a prophetic 2016 profile of the player headlined “the joke has been on Nicklas Bendtner for far too long”.