The enigmatic Danish striker tangled with two fellow frontmen during his time in north London, with only one of those hatchets being buried
Nicklas Bendtner has been reflecting on his time at Arsenal, with the enigmatic Danish striker clashing with Emmanuel Adebayor and Thierry Henry during an eventful spell in north London.
Headlines have followed the mercurial frontman around throughout his career, with the 32-year-old delivering moments of both delight and despair.
It was at Arsenal that he first burst onto the scene, with his spiky character and ability to swing wildly between the sublime and ridiculous marking him out as something of a cult hero.
While at Emirates Stadium, a man who netted 45 goals through 171 appearances for the Gunners often clashed with colleagues and opponents.
Adebayor was among those he locked horns with, with Bendtner telling Arsenal’s ‘In Lockdown Podcast’ of an infamous tangle with the Togolese during a League Cup semi-final clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane in January 2008: “He’s not really my cup of tea. I got on with most people in the team and made some really good friends, but me and him? Probably not so much.
“I remember him being substituted on and I think there was a key moment where I don’t think the ball had been passed to him. There was a heated exchange of words where a lot was said between us, and then we squared up to each other.
“Then he sort of push headbutted me, so he sort of pushed me away while headbutting me on the nose. Then [William] Gallas came in, split us up and took us apart.
“I was very upset. I mean, we had such a poor performance, I think we lost 5-1. I was disappointed enough with myself and the team about the performance we gave, so that [incident] obviously didn’t do anything to help.
“We tried to talk it through in the dressing room but not so much words… more something else. Then we got separated and called into the boss’ office the next day. We got fined and that was the end of it. We didn’t really have any encounters at all from that moment.
“We never tried to patch things up. We learned to have the respect for the club and the team. That we would be on the same team, we would give everything when we were on the pitch together, but we wouldn’t be friends.”
Prior to taking in an on-field battle with Adebayor, Bendtner had incurred the wrath of iconic colleague Henry in training – with the Frenchman not taking too kindly to complaints aired in his direction during an exercise that was supposed to include only two touches of the ball being taken in.
Bendtner added on that episode, which did end in a hatchet being buried: “It’s actually a funny story. It was quite an important moment.
“It showed me a lot about being humble and understanding, because of the background I came from it was more if someone says something you would sort it out right there and then.
“Thierry gave me a lesson. This is the guy who’s been assisting and scoring the most goals. He’s got legendary status in the Premier League and with Arsenal but the fact wasn’t what happened on the pitch for me.
“The fact was that he managed to sit down and talk with me afterwards, that showed me a lot more to him that I could expect and knew about at the time.
“It definitely had a big effect on me. I mean, the fact that he could do that but then still say, ‘But you’ll get punished.’ He would tell me what it’s like to be part of a team and to be at Arsenal and what it means.”