“I slapped him on the back of the head…” – Moment Newcastle favourite was told to ‘play properly’ by opponent – Sport Witness

While Hatem Ben Arfa’s career can be seen as one filled with regrets, since the forward never lived up to the expectations placed on him at a young age, some Newcastle United fans will still remember him fondly.

The former France international enjoyed a rather successful spell with the Magpies, often producing moments of genius, such as his memorable solo goal against Bolton in 2012.

However, he also had an immature side to him, as recalled to the now retired Sébastien Bassong for RMC Sport, who has known Ben Arfa from a young age, when they were at Clairefontaine together.

The ex-defender, who joined Tottenham from Newcastle in 2009, was asked if he struggled to play against players like Didier Drogba.

While he admitted that he did get beat by the Chelsea icon a number of times, he always felt more comfortable dealing with big strikers like the Ivorian, and struggled a bit more against quicker opponents, leading to the anecdote involving Ben Arfa at Newcastle.

He said: “I played against him in the Premier League when he was at Newcastle and I was at Tottenham. As a little anecdote, the only time I played against him in England, he came on and wanted to dribble past me more than play for the team.

“I slapped him on the back of the head and told him to play properly! He kept saying: ‘I’m going to beat you, I’m going to beat you!’ Playing against him… he was my brother.”

This was all said with a big smile on his face, meaning it was just a bit of fun between two players who had known each other for a long time.


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