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Hatem Ben Arfa

'The biggest waste in football' – Ben Arfa's former agent claims ex-Newcastle midfielder 'p*ssed me off' & thought he'd win Ballon d'Or

12:34 EAT 07/04/2022
Hatem Ben Arfa
The former PSG winger was tipped for the very top, but ultimately failed to achieve his tremendous potential

Hatem Ben Arfa's former agent, Frederic Guerra, has detailed why he feels the winger never lived up to his enormous potential, citing a lack of work ethic and an entitled personality as part of the problem.

Ben Arfa came through the ranks at Lyon alongside Karim Benzema, whom Guerra claims was aware he was not as good as his team-mate at the time.

Benzema, however, put in the work and is now considered one of the best strikers of the modern age, something that Guerra feels never happened for Ben Arfa because of his mentality.

What has been said?

Asked where it all started to go wrong for his client of four years, Guerra told RMC Sport: “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.

“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.

“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.”

Dressing room problems

On the issues Ben Arfa can cause within a squad, Guerra said: “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.

“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.”

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