Arsenal star back in the fold after seasons on loan, and says previous comments taken out of context.
Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner says that having a baby changed his life.
The Denmark international star has long had a reputation as someone whose confidence vastly outstripped his talent on the football field, thanks to a playboy lifestyle, relationship with a Danish baroness, and outspoken statements in the media.
Arguably Bendtner’s most infamous comments were those that spoke of his desire to be one of the best players in the world.
“I want to be top scorer in the Premier League, top scorer at the World Cup and, within five years, I want to be among the best strikers in the world,” said Bendtner in 2009.
He has one year left to achieve that goal, and with an Arsenal contract expiring at the end of the season, it is not looking particularly likely.
Still, Bendtner feels his comments have been taken out of proportion, and that he has only been demonstrating his ambition.
The 25 year-old actually credits the birth of his child as a critical factor in his growing maturity, and says he should be judged on the present.
“First of all I had a baby, which changed me a lot,” Bendtner told the official Arsenal website. “I think a lot of people say that you have babies and they change you but for me I could really feel a big difference to my life.
“Being abroad showed me a lot of different things and different aspects of how to live and how to cope with problems and things like that. I think that has given me a lot more as a man.
“I don’t like that I keep getting put up on comments I’ve made which have been wrongly said – that I still to this day have to see it and listen to it,” he said.
“If people don’t like me, that’s fair enough. If people can’t accept that sometimes you’re young and make mistakes and move on, that’s not up to me.
“I try to do my best and that’s basically all I can do for my family and my friends and everyone around the Club.
“I think every football player wants to achieve the [most] within what he can do. That’s what makes you. If you have a dream and try to do everything you can to be the best that you can, that’s you trying to make the best out of your job or what you do.
“I basically said that I think that anybody who plays football in the world would love to be the best. I think that’s a normal statement and that got [changed] to me saying that I was the best player in the world.
“I don’t know where that came from. I still listen to it now and again and still see it. If people want to believe that, then that’s that.”