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Hatem Ben Arfa Sounded Like A Total Bollocks When Explaining Why He Rejected Atlético

Hatem Ben Arfa Sounded Like A Total Bollocks When Explaining Why He Rejected Atlético
By Gavan Casey Updated

Ah, Hatem Ben Arfa. One of football's true renaissance stories.

At Lyon, he was a revelation; perennially linked to Arsenal alongside his equally prodigious teammate Karim Benzema, as the pair - still just boys - tore Ligue 1 asunder.

A decade later, aged 28, Ben Arfa was relegated from the Premier League with Hull City, having failed to score for Steve Bruce's side in eight appearances.

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But if 10-or-so years can make a difference in a footballer's career, so too can just one season. The former Newcastle renegade returned home to France at the beginning of this season and rediscovered the frightening form of his youth, notching 17 Ligue 1 goals in 32 appearances for Nice, who narrowly missed out on a Champions League place.

So resurgent was the now-29-year-old's form that he was almost immediately linked to a move back to the big time; no, not a mid-table Premier League club with aberrant owners or AC Milan, but Barca-fecking-lona, in what would surely be 'one of those' moves, but a Cinderella story nonetheless.

But while the Spanish champions mull over a potential move for the exiled winger-slash-attacking midfielder, their slightly less glamorous understudies apparently attempted to pull a wildcard signing of their own, only to be turned away by the man himself.

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When asked by Gazzetta dello Sport if he would consider joining Diego Simeone and the Atléti freight train - a move which would perhaps grant Antoine Griezmann permission to pack his bags - Ben Arfa, in absolute fairness to him, went for the full-blown pseudo-artiste response:

Atletico deserves respect, but they have a style that is not my own. It is a football that will not last. The essence of this sport is elsewhere.

I belong to the school of Guardiola, of Bayern Munich, of Barcelona.

Football...It is also love.

What is this - a Giorgio Armani ad?

You can only presume that, while the football world scratches its collective bonce in an attempt to ascertain what in the name of Christ this could possibly mean, Ben Arfa - one of football's finest chancers - is having a right chuckle to himself on a yacht in the sunny south of France, just waiting for a phonecall from Camp Nou or the Etihad.

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And, considering the sudden up-turn in his career, it's actually pretty difficult not to respect it. Swing for the fences, Hatem. Why the hell not?

In other news, Eric Cantona is far from happy with Dider Deschamps' treatment of both Ben Arfa and his former teammate Karim Benzema...

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