Hatem Ben Arfa has been out of action since the Fulham game in early December and that was his first game back for a number of weeks, so we haven’t really seen Hatem much at all in the last few months, and there’s no form date on when he will return from his server hamstring injury.
Ben Arfa after scoring wonder goal against Spurs last August
But in Le10 Sport today Ben Arfa talks about his immaturity when younger at Lyon and Marseilles, and he thinks he could have been a better player today if he had knuckled down earlier in his career – as he’s done since he joined Newcastle in the summer of 2010.
This is what Ben Arfa told Le10Sport
“I regret not being mature earlier, because I think today I’d have evolved to a higher level. Maybe I’d be like him – Messi – today. But I still have time, I can catch up.”
It’s good that Ben Arfa thinks he can improve from where he is today, and we’ll see if he can improve and become closer to world class players like Messi – but it will be difficult for the Frenchman to get close to Messi, who was world class when he was a a teenager at Barcelona.
But less than a year ago Alan Pardew compared his mercurial winger to Messi when he talked to the BBC – and this is what Alan pardew said last April:
“With the ball at his feet, he’s magic. As magic as Luis Suarez or Messi at times.” “We had to work with him to understand exactly what he’s about. He has got a special talent, we know he’s special.”
Alan Pardew challenged Ben Arfa before the Liverpool game last November to have an impact on the game, the way that Louis Suarez of Liverpool has on Merseyside.
And we have to say that Ben Arfa has become a better player since Alan Pardew arrived at the club, and we’d be happy enough if the Frenchman can just improve from where he is today, and be the best Ben Arfa he can be – rather than comparing himself with other players.
And when Ben Arfa is fit and at his best, he’s a match winner for Newcastle and definitely world class.
Ben Arfa will also have a challenge to get into Didier Deschamps French squad for the World Cup next year in Brazil, especially as manager and player didn’t exactly see eye to eye while they were together at Marseilles.
And perhaps whatBen Arfa should concentrate on is becoming a more consistent player and show those world class skills in every game - because that’s exactly what Lionel Messi does – game in, game out.
That’s why the Argentine has been the best player in the world over the last four years.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org