Sun 20 June 2021 | 4:30

Top Facts about Hatem Ben Arfa, the Enigmatic Winger

Known for his art of dribbling, the French winger is described as one of the best-rated talents in France but has been criticized for lacking discipline. Read on to find out more facts about Hatem Ben Arfa.

Hatem Ben Arfa

(born March 7, 1987) is a French pro player who currently plays for Ligue 1 club


as a flank and attacking midfielder. He has been dubbed "one of France's best-rated prospects" for his dribbling skills, but he has been chastised by the press and fellow players for his lack of professionalism.


Ben Arfa’s age

is 34. Here you can get informed of the most important facts about the French controversial star. Ben Arfa is a previous French youth international who has represented his country at various levels.

He was a member of the 2004 UEFA European Under-17 Championship-winning squad at the under-17 level. In October 2007, he was summoned up for the first time to the senior squad for a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying game versus the Faroe Islands. He's played 15 games for France, netting twice

Top facts about Hatem Ben Arfa:

The first

fact about Hatem Ben Arfa

is that he began his professional career in the Île-de-France area, where he received his training at AC Boulogne-Billancourt and Versailles. He was accepted into the Clairefontaine Academy in 1999.

He stayed there for three years before moving to Lyon, where he won four Ligue 1 championships. He started his career as a centre striker with Lyon, but during the 2007–08 season, he switched to flank.

Hatem Ben Arfa early life

Speaking about

Hatem Ben Arfa’s parents

, he is the son of Kamel Ben Arfa, a former Tunisian international player who arrived in France in 1973 to work in a foundry, and Sonia Ben Arfa, a French citizen of Tunisian origin. He has two sisters and a brother. A native of Clamart, he grew up in the city of Butte Rouge in Châtenay-Malabry. He took his first steps in football at the age of seven, at the Voltaire Châtenay-Malabry.


Hatem Ben Arfas’s childhood

, it should be mentioned that he moved a few kilometers north to Montrouge CF 92 after two years with the team. Ben Arfa signed the AC Boulogne-Billancourt sports team in 1998. He was chosen to join the Clairefontaine School the next year.

He was a member of A la Clairefontaine, a documentary series that followed the lives of several of France's best young players throughout their time at the institution, while at Clairefontaine. During the show, Ben Arfa got into a fight with Abou Diaby in one episode. On weekdays, he trained at Clairefontaine and on weekends, he played with FC Versailles 78.

Hatem Ben Arfa personal life

Ben Arfa identifies himself as a Muslim who practices modestly. For the 2018 World Cup, Hatem has joined forces with the newspaper France Football to keep the column “Free Tribune” throughout the competition. He delivers his rants and his favorites on the Blues as well as on all the other selections 83.

Hatem Ben Arfa has stated that one of the causes he has had previous conflicts with trainers is because his dad never told him he adored him: "It's obvious that my father never expressed his affection for me. In my life, such kindness has been missing."

Several of his previous coaches were also scared of him. He recalls: "They didn't dare to speak to me. It was the same with coaches and everyone else. It was due to my demeanor. I changed when I realized it. I let my guard down. I have to put a lot of effort into this aspect of my personality."

Hatem Ben Arfa professional career

Few players can dribble like the French winger, Hatem Ben Arfa with such a devastating effect.

Lionel Messi

is known more for his unwavering control, the ball glued to his foot as he challenges every defense.

But there was always an unpredictability to Ben Arfa's movement that set him apart. It's a rare ability, to not only keep the ball while running at speed but to drag and pull it in whichever direction he desires. The Frenchman has always had it, and he's certainly not lost it.

Hatem Ben Arfa club career

Ben Arfa entered


, a team that had just achieved its first ever Ligue 1 title, at the age of 15, having already been dubbed a genius. After two years in the Lyon academy's junior levels, he earned his first pro contract in August 2004, committing to a three-year agreement amid late attention from English side Chelsea and Dutch team Ajax.  He was elevated to the main team with fellow junior star

Karim Benzema

and given the number 34 jersey.


He made his professional debut on the day of the opening match of the 2004-05 season against

OGC Nice

, came in as a substitute in the 68th minute. Lyon won the match 1-0 after a goal by Giovane Elber, a few minutes after Hatem would enter the field. After spending a few games as a substitute, he played his first starting game against Rennes FC on September 11, 2004.

An important

fact about Hatem Ben Arfa

is that he scored his first professional goal two months later, on November 10 in a Coupe de la Ligue match against Lille OSC, from the penalty spot in extra time to give Lyon a 2-1 lead. Even so, Lille won 3-2. He made his debut in the Champions League in a group stage match against Manchester United, coming in as a replacement for Sidney Govou.

The following season, he swapped number 34 for 18. He made his first start in the Champions League in a 2-1 win over

Rosenborg Ballklub

. He assisted Brazilian Fred to score the winning goal in the last minutes of the game. He scored his first goal of the 2006-07 season against CS Sedan just before half-time. Lyon won 1-0.

After Florent Malouda and Sylvain Wiltord left the club, Alain Perrin preferred the 4-3-3 formation and opted to put Hatem on the Left in the 2007-08 season. He quickly adapted to the position and scored his first goal in a 5-1 win at FC Metz on 15 September, although his performance was marred by a hat trick from Karim Benzema.

Arguably his best performances in the Lyon shirt came in 12 days, during which he played a league game on October 28 against PSG and a Champions League game against

VfB Stuttgart

on November 7. He scored two goals in every game. After the season, he was appointed by the National Union of Professional Footballers as the Young Player of the Year.

Despite rumors of a breakdown of his close friendship between him and Benzema, Hatem signed a contract extension with Lyon in March 2008 until 2010. However, his career in Lyon reached a dead end after falling out with Sébastien Squillaci in training.

Olympique de Marseille

Despite the interest of clubs such as Everton,

Manchester United

, Arsenal and Real Madrid, rumors began that he would sign for Lyon's rival club, Olympique de Marseille. On June 28, 2008, it was confirmed that a proposal from Marseille was rejected. However, Hatem confirmed to the local newspaper La Provence on June 29 that he had signed for the rival club and that he would not train for the preseason with Lyon.

La Provence later reported that the player did not attend training on June 30, confirming his intentions. Ben Arfa officially joined


on July 1, 2008 for € 12,000,000 following the agreement reached between Marseille and Lyon, at a meeting organized by the Ligue de Football Professionnel. As a result of disagreements over the transfer, in December 2008, Hatem told local press that his former team lacked class and was not a great club.

The fact about Hatem Ben Arfa is that he was introduced to the media and trained for the first time with the club on the same day. Number 20 was assigned to him. On July 16, he fought again with a teammate as happened at Lyon. This time, with the French international Djibril Cissé.

Hatem Ben Arfa made his debut on the opening day of the season with a draw at 4 with Stade Rennais FC. He scored his first goal in that same match. He continued to score, scoring 6 goals in his first 11 games. However, his reputation for controversy continued to haunt him when he became involved in another conflict, this time with Cameroon's Modeste M'bami during training for the Champions League match against

Liverpool FC


A notable fact about Hatem Ben Arfa’s club career is that he swapped number 20 for number 10 in the 2009-10 season and made his opening match debut in a 2-0 win over Grenoble Foot, where he came in as a substitute in the 68th minute. The following week, he won his first match of the season against

Lille OSC

and assisted Brandão to score the winning goal.

The controversy arose again, when Marseille fined Hatem € 10,000 for not attending training on October 8, 2009. The player said he was delayed due to visiting relatives in Tunisia. A month later, on November 18, he got into a heated argument with Didier Deschamps, during a workout. Hatem later apologized. He played 15 of 20 league games and only played 90 minutes of the game in two games.

Hatem's way of playing during the 2010-11 season earned praise from both Deschamps and José Anigo. On January 10, 2010, he scored his first goal of the season against Trélissac in the Coupe de France. He was instrumental in the 5-1 victory over Valenciennes FC, with a goal assist to Lucho González. Later, he scored a goal in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League tie against Danish club FC København.

In the second leg in Marseille, Hatem scored again in the 43rd minute of the match. Marseille won the match 3-1 (6-2 on aggregate). On February 27, he scored in a 3-0 win over


. In February, he was named UNFP Player of the Month. His team won all four matches in the competition.

Newcastle United

On August 9, 2010, it was announced that he would be loaned to

Newcastle United

for one season with an option to buy from the English team. The cost of the transfer was € 1,200,000. On October 3, 2010, he broke his leg due to a very hard tackle from Nigel de Jong. He spent most of it in his hometown of Paris and recovered at his Academy.

On January 7, 2012 in a game against

Blackburn Rovers

, he dribbled over 6 players and finished off with a strong shot over the goalkeeper, this goal was voted one of the 5 best goals of the year.

In a 2012 game against Bolton Wanderers, he dribbled past several players, starting from further back in the midfield and tapping to the side of the goalkeeper as he left, to score a Maradona- style goal. His team won 1 - 0, that goal was worth 3 very important points that season.

The team finished 5th in the 2011-12 Premier League standings, which helped them to play the Europa League the following season, in which they managed to reach the quarterfinals being eliminated by


, one of the finalists.

Loan to Hull City

On September 2, 2014, Ben Arfa was loaned to

Hull City

for the remainder of the season. He made his debut on September 15, replacing another rookie, Abel Hernández, in the final 11 minutes of the 2-2 home draw against

West Ham United


However, in December 2014, Ben Arfa left England unexpectedly, and Hull manager Steve Bruce later admitted that he did not know where the player was and that his career with Hull seemed to have come to an end.

OGC Nice

On January 3, 2015, it was announced that Ben Arfa would be loaned to Olympique de Nice in French Ligue 1. The following day, Newcastle announced that it had formally canceled Ben Arfa's contract, allowing the footballer to permanently join the French club, where he would the best of his career without any doubt.

It would even serve him to return to the French team and play preparation games for Euro 2016, although finally Didier Deschamps would leave him out of the list of 23, for many an unfair decision that could be because of the personal problems that both had at Olympique de Marseille.

Paris Saint Germain

On July 1, 2016, Ben Arfa arrived at Paris Saint-Germain for free after ending his contract with OGC Nice. In the 2017-18 season, he had not played a game, and had trained several times with the reserve team. He had not played an official game with PSG since April 5, 2017, where he made a great game with two goals and one assist to give the Parisian team victory in the French Cup.

Stade Rennais

An important fact about Hatem Ben Arfa’s club career is that on September 2, 2018, Ben Arfa arrived at Stade Rennais for free after ending his contract with Paris Saint-Germain.

He started the season scoring two goals, after spending almost a year and a half without playing, the first was the winning goal by 2 to 1 against the Czech Jablonec in the Europa League, from a penalty; and the second was also a goal that defined a match, this time in

Ligue 1

against AS Monaco, a 2-1 victory where Hatem scored a goal from outside the area to end Rennes' slump that had gone several games without to win. At the end of the season the club decided not to renew his contract and he was released.

Real Valladolid

On January 28, 2020,

Real Valladolid CF

made their signing official until the end of the season. After his brief experience in Spain, on October 7 of that same year he signed with FC Girondins de Bordeaux. The club announced his departure on May 29, 2021.

Hatem Ben Arfa international career

Ben Arfa has played for France's youth teams on many occasions. He made 10 appearances for the under-16 squad, scoring seven goals. Ben Arfa started his career with the squad in the Aegean Cup in Turkey in 2003. On the 12th of January, he netted his first goal of the tournament in a 3–2 victory against Belgium.

With the win, France secured a third-place finish. Ben Arfa led the squad with six goals in the Montaigu Cup. In the team's 8–0 victory against Gabon in the first match, he netted two goals. Ben Arfa netted the game's last goal in the team's 3–0 win against Russia, and then added another double in the team's 3–1 triumph over England in the final group stage encounter.  He finished the competition with a goal in the final versus Italy, despite France losing 5–1.


fact about Hatem Ben Arfa

is that he made his debut for the under-17 squad versus Sweden in the season's first game, scoring a hat-trick in the first half in a 5–2 triumph. Ben Arfa scored two goals at the Tournio de Val-de-Marne as France won the tournament without surrendering a goal.  Ben Arfa, along with colleagues Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema, and Jérémy Menez, helped the squad win the 2004 UEFA Europe Under-17 Soccer Tournament.

Ben Arfa scored goals versus Northern Ireland, Turkey, and Portugal in all five games.  He made 17 appearances for the under-17s, scoring 11 goals to lead the squad. Ben Arfa lost a considerable amount of time with the under-18 squad due to his increasing playing time with Lyon.

On March 15, 2005, he made his first appearance in a 3–3 tie against Germany.  Ben Arfa played in the team's last three fixtures of the campaign giving him a total of four appearances. He did not score any goals.

For under-19 service, the quartet of Ben Arfa, Nasri, Benzema, and Menez went to international action. With the goal of capturing the 2006 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, the four were reinforced by Issiar Dia,

Blaise Matuidi

, and Serge Gakpé. Ben Arfa netted his only goal versus Wales in the first round of qualifying for the tournament, as France went unbeaten through the round.

Ben Arfa was unable to compete in the championship's final round of qualifying due to a knee injury, and although being unbeaten in the round, France was eliminated after being lost on points by


. Ben Arfa only played one competitive match for the under-21 squad, versus Romania in the 2009 UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying match.

A noticeable fact about Hatem Ben Arfa is that he was available to compete for Tunisia before joining France, and was given a spot in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He passed down the chance, much like Sami Khedira, choosing to reach his potential with the French national team.

On 10 October 2007, Raymond Domenech summoned Ben Arfa up to the senior squad for the first time to replace the unwell Louis Saha, and he participated in the Euro 2008 qualifying games against the Faroe Islands and Lithuania. Domenech's detractors were taken aback by this decision, since they had anticipated forward David Trezeguet to be called up.

Ben Arfa made his first appearance on October 13th, coming in in the 64th minute for Franck Ribéry and scoring the game's last goal in France's 6–0 triumph over the Faroe Islands. Ben Arfa, on the other hand, was left out of Domenech's final 23-man Euro 2008 roster on May 28.

Ben Arfa was called up for France's practice game against Spain on March 3, 2010, following a lengthy time without being called up. He was joined by colleagues

Steve Mandanda

and Benoît Cheyrou. Domenech selected him to the 30-man initial roster for the 2010 World Cup on May 11th, however he did not make the final 23.

An important fact about Hatem Ben Arfa’s international career is that he was called up to the senior squad on 5 August 2010 by new coach Laurent Blanc for the squad's practice game versus


on 11 August 2010. He had not represented France internationally for almost two years.

Ben Arfa made his comeback to the squad in the encounter, replacing Moussa Sissoko at halftime. In a 2–1 loss, he netted the game's first goal. Ben Arfa was named to France's 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2012 on May 29, 2012, and made his first start in the last game of Group D, a 2–0 loss to Sweden.

Ben Arfa was placed on the reserve list for France's UEFA Euro 2016 team on May 12, 2016. In the end, he was not invited by the manager.

Hatem Ben Arfa style of play

An important fact about Hatem Ben Arfa is that he is distinguished by a technical ease which is considered rare. Outstanding dribbler, his ball handling and explosiveness make him a difficult player to stop once starting the attack. Often regarded as the biggest "mess in French football" by the media, according to some of his former teammates and the public, the player had the potential to become one of the best of his generation.

Karim Benzema, his former Olympique Lyonnais and youth teammate, compared Ben Arfa to Lionel Messi, Argentinian player of the same generation seen as one of the best in the history of this sport: “I saw him do incredible things. Hatem, he was Messi. But he did not make the right career choices. [...] He should not have left Lyon so young, a year before me.” He has not managed to maintain his performances over time despite a few brilliant plays.

Hatem Ben Arfa social media


Hatem Ben Arfa social media

, it should be mentioned that he has an Instagram page (


) with 718K followers. In the page we can see various pictures of him during the matches and training sessions. It seems that the player is not so keen on sharing private aspects of his life in social media.

Hatem Ben Arfa body measurements

Speaking about

Hatem Ben Arfa body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the French star is 5 ft 8 in (180 cm) and weighs 171 lb (78 kg).

Hatem Ben Arfa net worth and salary

As of the very last football season in 2021, Hatem Ben Arfa's net worth is expected to be about $4 Million. As of 2021, his estimated market cap is 3 million euros.

A fact about

Hatem Ben Arfa’s net worth

is that aside from his football earnings, he has amassed a fortune from private partnerships for major brands.

He has an ongoing lawsuit with PSG over the payment. He would be paid a gross monthly income of £434,000, split into two halves. This would require a lump sum payment of £369,000 per month plus a £65,000 ethical premium.

If the France international fulfilled specific goals at the team, the ethical premium would be paid out. These included being on time for training and not criticizing the team in the press.

He only failed to meet these goals once, in December 2017. Ben Arfa's case against PSG stems from his absence from the first squad between April 2017 and June 2018. After being kept out of the club for the most of his ill-fated two-year time there, Ben Arfa is suing the French titans for £7 million.

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