We bring you our third and final instalment of the intriguing insight on Hatem Ben Arfa provided by The illustrious ‘France Football’ magazine asking 22 important figures to ask Hatem questions and we round this one off with classic video footage of Ben Arfa’s strike in his last appearance for the national team. (Thanks once more to our translator ‘Pierre’);
“On the pitch, you have always taken the initiative, taken the game into your hands. You have always been the best of our generation. But, really your true strength isn’t it your mental strength, you who never doubt?”.
Ben Arfa ”
Since I was a young child, everyone is waiting for me to produce. To resist all that, you have to be more solid. The problem is that I often feel I have disappointed more than pleased people”.
Jean Claude Dassier (his old Marseille president)
“I regret to have underestimated the misunderstandings between you and Didier Deschamps and to have taken too much time before accepting to let you go. It is a mistake I made. Since then have you found the well being that you were aspiring to in England and do you think you can become the player that you want to be?”.
“I believe that I have found the serenity (the peace of mind) that will allow me, as soon as I have regained all my physical ability, to go forward. But to go how far, I don’t know…”.
José Anigo (his old Marseille Sports Director)
“Have you changed since you are in England?”
“I have matured and grown, especially with this long injury. But, deep down, I remain the same. The other day in training everybody shouted at me because after tricking the goalkeeper I then waited again to trick him again and then shot wide…I know it annoys everyone and I know I won’t change. But, it’s that kind of football that I like. But I am adapting and I am correcting myself to fit into the professional mould because I know I am paid to win matches and not to amuse myself. But learning to adapt doesn’t mean I will forget my instinct”.
More Info from the France Football feature:
15 May 2004 at Chateauroux, the U17 National team became European Champions for the first time in its history by beating the Spanish team of Piqué and Fabregas (2-1).
From the 11 on the park featured 3 jewels: Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez and Hatem Ben Arfa. The 4th one, Karim Benzema, was on the bench. 8 years on they all have travelled. Everyone was awaiting for their success and due to their obvious talent it led to criticism and impatience. They often gave the feeling that they were not putting enough effort in, losing their way to then come back to a high level.
Today: Benzema is at Real Madrid, Samir Nasri is at Manchester City, Menez at Paris- SG and Ben Arfa is hoping to get to European football with Newcastle United. The truth is Benzema commands a starting place at Real Madrid, Menez and Nasri alternate between being good and not so good and Ben Arfa is trying to be 1st choice.
With regards to French selection the same picture reappears:
Benzema (42 selections) Nasri (28) and Menez 10 still have a lot to prove. Ben Arfa (8) has not got back in the picture since his last appearance in August 2010 which coincided with Laurent Blanc’s appointment.
On his last appearance for France in August 2010 he scored the opener in a 1-1 draw against Norway.
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