Paris, April 6: He was considered to be the next big thing. Though not as prolific as one would expect any player to be, Hatem Ben Arfa certainly had all the skills to make it to the top level.
Already labelled a prodigy at the age of 15, Ben Arfa joined Lyon, a club where he won four successive Ligue 1 titles. However, his move to the Premier League wasn’t so fruitful with Newcastle United and Hull City. What followed was a dream move to French giants Paris-Saint Germain in 2016.
It was finally the time Ben Arfa could shine in a big club. But an ill-timed joke was all that ended his PSG career. According to a report from France Football, It all began with an incident which took place at the club’s training facility in early April 2017.
According to France Football, Ben Arfa is understood to have made an ill-advised joke to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani – the Emir of Qatar – about the fact Nasser Al-Khelaifi – the club’s president – was often difficult to get hold of.
Al-Khelaifi is said to have felt humiliated at that moment, and secretly swore to himself that Ben Arfa would never pull on a PSG shirt again. And it did happen that way. Ben Arfa hasn’t played a single match this season.
PSG boss Unai Emery wasn’t too concerned about him either, accepting to instructions by the hierarchy. The report also claims that Emery and Ben Arfa had been on bad terms after the playmaker told the coach that he would never make it past the last 16 of the Champions League, even with the best team in the world.
If that weren’t insulting enough, Ben Arfa is also believed to have been fond of undermining Emery in front of the rest of the squad by mocking the Spaniard’s attempts to speak French – an impersonation which the other players were not, apparently, unamused by.
Nevertheless, Ben Arfa’s contract expires this summer and the Frenchman is set for a move away already. He took to Instagram stating he is departing this summer and that he’ll always love Paris. Ben Arfa is being tracked by MLS and Leicester City.