Hatem Ben Arfa has been unveiled as Nice’s latest signing and given his first press conference in front of the French media.
The ex-Newcastle midfielder says it only took him ten minutes to decide to sign for Nice and then added, with a smile on his face, even if Real Madrid had then came in he wouldn’t have changed his mind.
Ben Arfa also said that he’d wanted to come back to France and it was important to have people around him who he can trust. Asked specifically if he was thinking about the possibility of a return to the national team, Hatem said not at the moment.
Was it important to come back and play in France?
“Yes, I really wanted to return to France and at Nice I think I can express myself. I have come to have fun and to help move the club forward with my qualities, to win. The choice might surprise but it is a very good club with great history and there are people here with ambition.
“I have accumulated a lot of experience, good and bad, and I hope to use that to benefit Nice.
How did you decide to come to Nice?
“I was in contact with Mathieu Bodmer (32 year old Nice midfielder) who I know well, we talked and he asked me if I would be interested in coming to Nice.
“I also know Julien Fournier the general manager (CEO) of the club, who I got on well with when we were both at Marseille. He called me and we talked at length, he is somebody I can trust and I need that, others want to just judge me through the media.
“I also saw the coach and liked his integrity and approach to football, after ten minutes my mind was made up.
“Even if Real (Madrid) had came in at that point (smiles), my choice was already made.
Are the France (national) team at the back of your mind?
“Not for now, I don’t think about that”