In Depth

Nike World Cup ad comes true as Bentley quits 'robotic' game

The 'new David Beckham' retires at 29 as Nike advert warns of a future of football clones

Perhaps he was inspired by watching Nike's new World Cup advert, The Last Game, which aired on the opening night of the tournament, but former England prodigy David Bentley has announced his retirement at the age of 29 claiming the sport had become too "robotic". 

His complaints chime with the theme of the ad, which features modern stars battling against a team of clones, created to take the risk, and fun, out of football.

The former Arsenal trainee, once seen as the natural heir to David Beckham but who won only seven England caps during a peripatetic career, wept as he explained his decision on Sky Sports News.

"I've just fallen out of love with the game," said the winger, who was signed by Spurs from Blackburn for £15m in 2008, but had spent the last few seasons out on loan. "I don't want to carry on playing somewhere just for money."

Football, he said, has changed. "When I first started it was the enjoyment, going in to work every day was brilliant. Now it's a little bit robotic, the social media side of it, the money that has come into the game. I hate to say it, but it's made it boring and predictable [and] calculated."

His announcement came a day after Nike's animated advert, which imagines a future where football is taken over by an army of passionless clones, debuted on British TV.

In The Last Game, which has had 33 million YouTube hits in less than a week, an evil scientist decides to remove the element of risk from the sport by building robots who refuse to take chances.

In the five-minute epic, stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Franck Ribery are forced out of the game by the clones and fall on hard times, before being rounded up by Brazilian striker Ronaldo for a winner-takes-all match to decide the future of the sport.

Recommended

Messi vs. Ronaldo: football’s great rivalry
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: football’s great rivalry

Qatar’s tainted World Cup
Workers at the site of the Lusail Stadium in 2019
Why we’re talking about . . .

Qatar’s tainted World Cup

Markle vs. the Mail: how the case played out
Meghan Markle
Getting to grips with . . .

Markle vs. the Mail: how the case played out

Jack Dorsey resigns: Twitter needs ‘more than a part-time chief’
Jack Dorsey
Profile

Jack Dorsey resigns: Twitter needs ‘more than a part-time chief’

Popular articles

Is World War Three looming?
Xi Jinping
In Depth

Is World War Three looming?

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?
Boris Johnson
Behind the scenes

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

The Week Footer Banner