Nicklas Bendtner: Remembering when cult hero joined FC Copenhagen and sparked 'Bendtner-mania'

Nicklas Bendtner sparked ‘Bendtner-mania’ in Denmark’s capital when he joined FC Copenhagen in 2019.

The striker was treated like royalty when he moved to his hometown club. A cult hero across Europe, Bendtner was a genuine hero back home.

“I know it is a very special opportunity and I will do everything in my power to seize it for the next four months,” Bendtner said upon his arrival, per BBC Sport.

Bendtner was 31 at the time. He’d enjoyed the highs of Premier League and Serie A football, and a return to Copenhagen made complete sense for him.

Yet not even he could have imagined what was to come when he arrived at the Danish Superliga club.

Nicklas Bendtner

Bendtner-mania

After his move was announced and ‘Bendtner 32’ jerseys were available to buy, FC Copenhagen’s website crashed as it experienced serious demand.

The club ended up selling out of their home jersey in every size.

Nicklas Bendtner

“There has been huge interest in securing our new home jersey with ‘Bendtner 32’ on the back, which has meant that the jersey is sold out in all sizes,” Martin Nohr, manager of FC Copenhagen’s Fan Shop, said, per the Daily Mail.

“We are at an unprecedented level in recent years when it comes to selling jerseys, and there is a huge interest in our jerseys at the moment. 

“We have never sold so many jerseys in one day.”

Nicklas Bendtner

Footage of Bendtner in training went viral

Yet supporters who purchased ‘Bendtner 32’ jerseys will have been scrambling for their receipts after footage of the striker looking like a Sunday League player in training surfaced.

Fears of overcrowding at first game

Bendtner-mania didn’t falter, though. Due to fear of overcrowding, FCK decided to play his first game for the club behind closed doors because their training ground “would have blown up” if supporters were allowed in.

“This game is against Brøndby and then it’s war,” the club’s manager Ståle Solbakken told VG at the time. “It’s just not possible. We have to close it [for fans]. 

Nicklas Bendtner in action for FC Copenhagen

“There would have been supporters from both sets of teams, meaning 3-4,000 fans for a reserve game. We can’t house them there. Our training ground would have blown up.” 

On the hysteria that engulfed the club, Solbakken added: “It’s gone wild. I don’t think the marketing department has ever experienced anything like it. 

“It is quite surreal. I think you have to go back to Preben Elkjær in the 80s to find someone with the same cult-hero status.”

But the move was a nightmare

But Bendtner’s fairytale move didn’t exactly go to plan. 

He left FCK after a miserable four-month spell in which he played in just nine games and scored once, in a cup tie against FC Nordsjælland.

The former Denmark international, who retired in 2021 following a brief stint with Tarnby FF’s M+32 Old Boys team, harboured no regrets about his time in Copenhagen.

“I’m proud that I have now played in the FCK jersey and scored a goal in Telia Parken, which was always one of my dreams as a footballer,” he said in a statement.

“I knew the conditions for the opportunities that FCK and Ståle gave me, and I’ve been treated well by everyone in the club.

“Of course, I had hoped for more playing time and maybe a longer contract, but I fully respect Ståle’s decision, and in no way do I regret my time here at FCK.”

Bendtner’s time at the club was a truly wild ride that went a long way in summing up his career.

A lot of attention, but with little end product.

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