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Ben Arfa considered retirement from football during exile

Hatem Ben Arfa has revealed he considered retiring from football during the six months he was unable to play after ending his Newcastle United hell.

Ben Arfa was forced to train with the Newcastle reserves in 2014 before being loaned to Hull City that September.

However, his spell at the KC Stadium proved brief as he returned to France in December before Newcastle terminated his contract at St James’ Park in January 2015.

He subsequently signed for Nice but was unable to play for the Ligue 1 club because of rules preventing a player from featuring for more than two clubs in a season, with FIFA ruling his appearance for Newcastle’s Under-21s in August 2014 to be an official match.

In an interview with Onze Mondial Ben Arfa said: “At that point, yes [I contemplated retiring]. “When I found out the league’s decision, I had an impulse.

“I told myself: ‘C’mon it’s good, let’s get drunk! They do not want me to play? Okay, bah leave me alone, I will stop everything. They will regret it later anyway.’ Yes, I wanted to chuck in everything, but not for too long.”

Ben Arfa made his debut for Nice last August and has since scored 12 goals, working his way back into the France national team.

A hamstring injury has sidelined Ben Arfa for at least four weeks but the 28-year-old, who has previously claimed he was ostracised at Newcastle by Alan Pardew, describes playing at Nice as “paradise” compared to the latter stages of his time at St James’ Park.

“Hell is when everyone turns their back on you,” Ben Arfa explained. “Well, no, hell is when you can’t see the end of the tunnel. You’re on your own, with no one to support you and you move forward in the fog. You don’t know where you’re going.

“You just know that you’re going in the wrong path. I’ve lived all of that. Now, I’m lucky to have a club and especially a coach [Claude Puel] who support me.

“It’s paradise compared to what I went through. I don’t feel lonely anymore. I feel loved.”

Wed 10 Feb, 2016
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