If I told you there was a Wolfsburg striker who has fined €25,000 for losing €75,000 in poker winnings he left in the back of a taxi, called out by his manager for eating too much Nutella, and dropped by his national team for demonstrating a lack of focus, you would almost certainly assume I was talking about Nicklas Bendtner. But all of this has actually happened to Max Kruse, who seems to have contracted a full blown case of Bendtneritis.
From the BBC:
According to Bild, the trouble began in October, after Kruse enjoyed a successful evening at the World Series Poker tournament in Berlin.
Sadly, his joy was short-lived, as the cash suffered a fate familiar to countless Bundesliga defenders: left trailing in Kruse’s wake.
The striker contacted the police but the money has never been recovered, and to add to insult to injury, he was reprimanded by Wolfsburg last week after the incident was made public. […]
Wolfsburg director Klaus Allofs confronted him at the club’s winter training camp and told him to kick the chocolate hazelnut spread into touch, Bild reported.
“The aim is to support our players to deliver optimum performance,” Allofs said. “Max needs to correct a few things.”
Perhaps feeling on edge due to low blood sugar from not having his Nutella, Kruse then reportedly took a mobile phone from a woman who was taking pictures of him as he celebrated his birthday at a Berlin nightclub.
Despite a subsequent apology, Jogi Löw decided to drop Kruse from the German national team, citing his lack of focus.
From the Guardian:
“I made it clear to Max Kruse last week what I expect from him, both on and off the field,” said Löw on the German Football Association’s website.
“I want players who focus on football and the European Championship, even between matches.
“Last weekend’s incident goes against my expectations. Max has once again behaved unprofessionally and I don’t accept that.
“Euro 2016 is on the horizon and we have big goals as a team there. We need players who are focused and aware of their status as a role model.”
It should be noted that Nutella is a long-time sponsor of the German national team, and the subject of the “Nutella curse” that has struck down many players who have featured in the company’s ads. So Kruse’s exclusion from the squad might just be for his own protection.
UPDATE: Bild is now reporting that there is a self-shot naked video of Kruse on the internet somewhere. This is final stage Bendtneritis. I’m afraid there is no cure.