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Ben Arfa: Newcastle Cult Hero Trades Football for Unique Sport in Strange Career Turn
- Hatem Ben Arfa was one of the most promising football players of his time
- The winger is yet to retire from sport but has embarked on an unusual path
- Reports claim Ben Arfa regularly engages in a different and unique pursuit
It is almost impossible to speak on the Premier League cult heroes of the early 2010s without mentioning the revered Hatem Ben Arfa.
The former Newcastle winger used to be a defender's nightmare as he was coming up the footballing ladder, but his career was rigged with disappointment.
Having made his debut with Lyon at 17, Ben Arfa quickly established himself as a promising rising star, striking a lethal partnership with fellow upcoming star, Karim Benzema.
But it was at Newcastle that Ben Arfa made a name for himself, playing a crucial role in Alan Pardew’s side as they finished fifth in the 2011/12 campaign.
That same season, he scored an incredible solo goal against Bolton Wanderers, but his time with the Magpies ended on a sour note.
He ended up moving to Hull City before making a return to France where he appeared to have revived his career with OGC Nice in the 2015/16 season.
A move to Paris Saint-Germain followed, but Ben Arfa’s injuries hampered his progress with the French giants and he ended up spending 15 months without playing professionally.
His career is that of a typical footballing nomad, according to Transfermarkt, as he has also had stints with Rennes, Real Valladolid, Bordeaux, and Lille.
What is Ben Arfa up to today?
Ben Arfa has not announced his official retirement from football. However, his last professional game was in April 2022 and he has been a free agent since his contract with Lille ran out.
Curiously the winger has been keeping fit in sport - but just not football - as SportBible reports that the 36-year-old is a committed padel player (a racquet sport similar to tennis).
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According to French outlet Le Parisien, the Frenchman is so good at the sport that he has reportedly won 70 tournaments in one calendar year.
Thanks to his dedication, he ranks inside the top 1500 in France out of approximately 42,000 players.
Ben Arfa’s football career may not have turned out the way many people anticipate, but it is nice to see he is still finding success in a different discipline.
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The Al-Nassr superstar is said to have listed the racquet sport as his second-favourite pastime and continues to promote the discipline.