Hatem Ben Arfa has shown a lot of character this season at Nice in being able to get back to his very best form after he had a poor season last season in the Premier League.
The 28 year-old was excluded from training with the Newcastle first team at the start of last season and then he was sent out on loan on the last day of the summer transfer window to Hull City.
Alan Pardew did not want him at Newcastle and it was best for both sides that Ben Arfa went out on loan.
Hatem Ben Arfa – in action while at Newcastle
But that didn’t work out either and Hull boss Steve Bruce didn’t want him on loan at Hull either and in January Newcastle allowed him to move on a free transfer to French club Nice, even though he still had six months left on his contract.
But then because he had played for Hull and the Newcastle U21 side he was amazingly not allowed to play for Nice.
So let’s just say it was a very bad time for Ben Arfa last season – which is why he’s done so well in coming back.
His excellent form in the French League has meant that French manager Didier Deschamps – his former manager at Marseille who he fell out with before he joined Newcastle in the summer of 2010 – recalled him to the French side last week.
That selection also reflects very well on Deschamps – that he doesn’t hold a grudge – after their joint problems at Marseille.
Ben Arfa has been talking during the International break about his private hell at Newcastle:
“It was a hell at Newcastle. There, on the first day back in August 2014, I was placed directly with the reserves – a terrible humiliation.”
“Weeks passed and I was always with these young 16, 17-year-olds away from the pros. I did not understand it. They made it a nightmare. It was full of little cheap shots. And when I believed I had got out by signing for Nice, they were forbidden to hire me.”
“I had the feeling of being locked in a dark room without a door, or in an endless tunnel. I saw hell and especially no solution to my problems.” “At that time, I was wrong, I did not see any light.”
“I was a prisoner. I told myself every day to not let go. I tried to convince myself that the light was coming back, I was going to find the right path.” “By signing this summer with Nice, I really felt out of hell.”
“In fact, that’s it – I’ve come back from hell.”
If Ben Arfa continues to show great form at Nice there may be bigger clubs come in for him – but for his career – maybe the best thing to do is to stick with Nice and try to make them into a top side in France.
Nice are currently in 6th place with 21 points from 13 games played.
He has 7 goals and 2 assists in 14 appearances for Nice this season and while at Newcastle he played 86 times with 14 goals and 17 assists and on his best form he was world-class.
We hope Ben Arfa can continue his great comeback in France and can play for France next summer in the Euro 2016 Championships, which are being held in France.