'The biggest waste in football' - What went wrong for ex-France, PSG and Newcastle favourite Hatem Ben Arfa?

Hatem Ben Arfa Getty/GOAL

In 2016, Hatem Ben Arfa arrived at Paris Saint-Germain as a player looking to revive a once-promising career. Five years later, he won a lawsuit against the club for €100,000 (£86,000/$110,000) after making only 30 appearances and scoring three goals. He was perhaps the first, but certainly not the last, in a series of failed signings to arrive in the French capital falling into the category of a world-class talent turned bargain buy, who showed exactly why he had fallen from the top.

Ben Arfa is now remembered in YouTube compilations and adoring tweets. His highlight reel remains impressive, a fixture of football fans’ “streets won’t forget” rhetoric. But those goals, impressive as they were, paint a far kinder picture of the attacking midfielder. Instead, Ben Arfa was an immense talent forgotten, or, as his former agent claimed: "A huge waste – maybe the biggest waste in football of the 21st century."

Once dubbed by himself as equal parts sensitive and impulsive, Ben Arfa is now a reminder of how players destined for greatness can so easily get it all wrong.

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Still, it’s not quite that simple. Ben Arfa’s decline wasn’t linear — he was too good for that. Instead, his career was defined by a number of false dawns, a player who seemed to promise that he would reach his best, before failing to do so in the most dramatic of circumstances.