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Hatem Ben Arfa Labelled 'The Biggest Waste In Football Of The 21st Century', It's A Sad Read

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Hatem Ben Arfa Labelled 'The Biggest Waste In Football Of The 21st Century', It's A Sad Read

Hatem Ben Arfa had the potential to win the Ballon d'Or, but his work ethic and character stopped him from reaching the very top, according to his former agent.

Once described as one of the best-rated talents in France, the tricky winger made his breakthrough at Ligue 1 side Lyon in 2004 alongside another of the club's youth products, Karim Benzema.

He would go on to play for the likes of Marseille, Newcastle United, Nice and Paris Saint-Germain in a career that promised so much.

Ultimately though, he never really hit the heights of what was expected. Benzema matured into one of the best strikers in world football, while Ben Arfa was frozen out by a number of his former clubs.

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Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Ben Arfa's former agent of four years, Frederic Guerra, has given a fascinating insight into the player's career in an interview with French publication RMC Sport.

Guerra lavishes praise on the 35-year-old, who now plays for French side Lille, but explained that he has "no filter between his brain and his mouth", which in turn affected dressing rooms throughout his career.

When asked where it all started to go wrong for Ben Arfa, he said: “It's a psychological thing from his childhood. He was king, king, king. He was always told what he deserves but never told to work.

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“I was convinced that I had a player that, if we worked on his mind, would win the Ballon d'Or. He was so talented. It's a huge waste – maybe the biggest waste in football of the 21st century.

“There are plenty of players that were told early on that they would be pearls and still made it. Cristiano Ronaldo became a huge worker early on, Karim Benzema took exactly the same route. It takes work, talent is not enough.

“But his mentor, Michel Ouazine (advisor and representative) told him that talent was enough."

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy
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Guerra added: “I remember once at Marseille, Didier Deschamps had put him on the bench. Michel told me: 'He's put him on the bench because he doesn't defend. But we shouldn't ask a future Ballon d'Or winner to defend!'

“He said that in front of Ben Arfa... That does nothing to help the boy grow. Hatem is 35 now, but he'll be 17 years old all his life. He's a child.

"I'm sure some psychiatrists would rack their brains over a character as difficult as Hatem's.”

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy
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Guerra went on to speak about the problems Ben Arfa can bring to a club.

“He's a boy who never asks you for anything but always makes you feel like you owe him everything. He doesn't give you respect, but he demands respect. He gives the impression of sympathy, empathy, but that's totally false.

“He has no filter between his brain and his mouth. Hatem will tell you everything he thinks – with force. It's intolerable for a locker room, a president, an institution. Everything revolves around him.

“If he made a difference like [Kylian] Mbappe at PSG... But he doesn't do that with Lille, and he won't do it with his next club. And there will be a next one. There will always be someone who believes that they are up to the challenge of managing Hatem.

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“I don't want to be too harsh on him because, despite the fact that he p*ssed me off for four years, I was very attached to him.”

Thoughts on Guerra's assessment of Ben Arfa's career?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Newcastle United, Lyon, Lille, Ligue 1, Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain

Jack Kenmare
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