Hatem Ben Arfa has been making headlines again.

Last season it was for his on the pitch contribution, a remarkable 17 goals from midfield as he inspired Nice into being a top four team.

This season though, his move to PSG has turned very sour, only five Ligue 1 starts and a week ago Hatem Ben Arfa released a public statement simply asking to have a proper opportunity in the remaining weeks.

He was an unused substitute on Saturday as PSG beat Monaco 4-1 away from home in the Cup.

The former Newcastle winger has now made another off the pitch contribution, in an interview with France Football the winger/playmaker has expressed his dismay at the style of football favoured by so many clubs and managers today.

Talking about them as the ‘antithesis of Johan Cruyff and his freedom’, Hatem Ben Arfa picked out Manchester United’s Joe Mourinho and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone for special mention…saying ‘with them there is no longer room for pleasure’ when it comes to the playing style they prefer.

The French maverick declaring that if ‘you are not of the mould’ and do the unpredictable ‘you are rejected’.

Amusingly, Hatem even picks out Ronaldo and declares ‘he does not give me any emotion – he is predictable’.

Hatem Ben Arfa talking to France Football:

“Too many standards, too many issues. If you are not of the mould, you’re rejected. Everything is stereotyped.

“Many coaches are convinced to invent football on the pretext that they are looking for and find the system to block the opponent. With them there is no more pleasure.

“I like the South Americans: Bielsa (former Argentina Manager), Sampaoli (Sevila Manager). There is a lot of rigour, a lot of work but they leave the possibility of instantaneity.

“But this is not in the essence of football, with (Jose) Mourinho and (Diego) Simeone.

“It is the antithesis of Johan Cruyff and his freedom – with them there is no longer room for pleasure.

“There is no more spectacle, to the point that football interests me much less.

“I do not find pleasure watching matches. Even in Ligue 1, we kill football.

“Cristiano Ronaldo, he does not give me any emotion – he is predictable.”



  • Soldier

    in some respects he`s right managers now want robots who play to a rigid system & there`s little or no room for the unexpected or deviation from the system. you can witness it at first hand with Newcastle & many many more teams in the modern game.

  • Geordiegiants

    This happened in Serie A when they were the premier league in Europe. It’s become more about money than entertainment unfortunately. There is nothing that can be done while the likes of Murdoch and his mob are in control.

  • Sing in the Leazes

    He’s right. He might not have known how to get involved in a simple game of footy for more than 5 minutes in 90 but he’s got a point. Must be no fun having your wings forever clipped by a coach when you’re blessed with his talent.
    Even international tournaments are dominated by teams playing it safe nowadays. Majority of games just not worth bothering with.
    Keep your shape. Keep possession or keep lots of men behind the ball. Play the percentages. Don’t concede. 0-0 and practice penalties.
    Arsenal v Barca anyone? Spain v France? No ta… even if the commentators and pundits are drooling… nowt ever happens. Ray Wilkins nursing a semi for the ‘outstanding’ Iniesta but when they try to show some highlights he just received the ball at some awkward heights without missing a beat and kept possession in small spaces beautifully. Whilst passing sideways 10 yards. Yawn. Give me jumpers for goalposts any day!
    One day the penny will drop with fans and attendances will begin to sway…. and the whole bubble might burst. The business model is based on perpetual growth so a crash is always a risk.
    Or they might start dishing out bonus points for high scores to encourage attacking play again. Before 3 points for a win the away teams were always setting up for draws so they have a precedent.
    Or they could bring back terraces and let the crowd give the teams the energy to break out of the routine play.
    But at the moment it seems that people are becoming accustomed to it. So good on you Hatem – it needed saying.

  • JP

    So true Hatem. If I liked you before I love you now for stating the truth and dissing Mourinho and Ronaldo lol legend! I would love to see you back in the black n white of Newcastle in the number 10 role under Rafa.

    • PUTABARCA

      Stfu messi dickrider

      • JP

        Hahaha go on and suck ronaldo off u cu*t lol

  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    He’s right .. rigid coaching has killed football .. at grass roots level you have tin pot coaches telling young wingers to cover their full back , not to try dribbling and to give the easy ball .. how can that thinking produce Ginola’s, Bests or Cruyff’s

    • Mark Scott

      A symptom of the money involved these days I feel…clubs can’t afford to take risks and they play a sort of numbers game…be that “safe” tactics, stamping out flair in youth players…whatever. yes a flair player will lose the ball occasionally BUT it is what fans, true fans, want to see. Give me a Ginola or even a Robert back in the side any day…may have both cost goals due to lack of defensive awareness but boy were they fun to watch!

      • Anita kick up the Hoop

        And that’s why we watch .. I think that gets forgotten sometimes with fans parroting rubbish from negative managers like Allerdyce and Pullis … it drives me crazy how they have become the standard set by coaches at all levels .. even kids coaches model their set ups .. it was attacking managers like Keegan who made the premiership THE league to watch .. it was ex school teachers who took over the FA coaching system who created the dross the likes of Allerdyce, Moyes and Pardew churn out … but worse than that is the destruction of young talent, the jinky winger is being made extinct, a Gasgonie or Waddle wouldn’t get past a school of excellence these days!
        And all the while these managers are producing negative dross they are looking down the camera lense telling us we are watching the best league in the world and seeing amazing football … it’s a huge rip off.