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Tyne Talk

Hatem Ben Arfa – “Too Many French On The Pitch”

9 years ago
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As we featured yesterday, speaking to connections we have in France, it is hard for us in Newcastle/England to realise just what big news Ben Arfa is back in his home country.

They don’t do this for just anybody – The illustrious ‘France Football’ magazine asked 22 important figures to ask Hatem questions and here are a few more important football figures (…and Boumsong!) putting the questions to our French enigma (Thanks again to our translator ‘Pierre’);

Gerard Houllier, his former coach at Lyon, asks: “You’ll soon be 25 years old are you ready at last to see big and to look ahead?”

Ben Arfa “I am still aiming for the same thing as when I started, I want to become one of the best current players. Unfortunately I have lost some time in my career, but in my life, I have the feeling that I have won something. In fact, it is unfortunate that a career cannot be done between the ages of 24 and 40 as I would have all my chances! (laughter). But I believe that if you come back in three or four years, at that time, I see myself on top of my game, winning for example the World Cup in Brazil or the Ballon D’or because I’m still full of dreams”. 

Issar Dia, old teammate from Clairefontaine (French Football Academy)”Do you envisage joining me one day in Turkey? Otherwise is there another destination of another league that still makes you dream?”

Ben Arfa: “In Turkey? Why not? But me I feel right here. I do not want to leave England. This is real football it is here that you have it, with passion, excitement, and the public. I have already played in Milan, Madrid and Barcelona but it is here that I feel right on the pitch. And also it is here that the players are respected. You need to realise and can you believe it that when Newcastle was relegated in 2009, the players did a lap of honour and the fans still applauded them during the last match of the season. In fact the hardest here is the English language; there are too many French on the pitch!”

Jean-Alain Boumsoung, old team mate at Lyon “You are one of the fastest people that I know with the ball at their feet. But I think that you would gain in speed if you played with the help of your team mates doing 1-2’s for example. What do you think?”

Ben Arfa: “It’s a fair comment, I have to learn to pass and go rather than doing it all on my own”

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