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Hatem Ben Arfa


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From "Daddy, why won't you love me?!"...

The Guardian]Hatem Ben Arfa: lack of fatherly love made me struggle with authorities

•Newcastle winger used to clash with coaches but has changed

•Raymond Domenech 'the only coach' to have understood him

Hatem Ben Arfa has said that one of the reasons he has clashed with coaches in the past is that his father never told him he loved him but he promised that he will not be a problem player for Newcastle United.

The winger, who is trying to force his way into Alan Pardew's starting XI again after suffering a horrific leg break against Manchester City in October 2010, has fallen out with a string of coaches in his career but says he is now a changed man. "I did terrible things during my career, which weren't normal or morally good," he said in a long and open interview with L'Equipe on Monday. "It happened everywhere I went, in Clairefontaine, in Lyon. Since I was very small I've been very impulsive, I fought all the time.

"It is true that my father never told me that he loved me. Such generosity has been lacking in my life," Ben Arfa, the son of Tunisian immigrants in France, added.

The 24-year-old also reveals that several of his former coaches were afraid of him. "They didn't dare talk to me," he says. "It was like this with coaches and with everyone. It was because of my attitude. When I realised that, I changed. I opened up. I work a lot on this part of my personality because I have to."

Asked whether Pardew loves him, the winger said: "No. But I respect him for that choice. I ramp up my training, I try to be a good team-mate. I know what I'm doing right now will make me play well. I'm working harder than ever. I'm always frustrated when I'm not playing but, instead of clashing with the coach like before, I let it go because I know I'll lose. I'm going to submit to his [Pardew's] authority. … I'm not going to go looking for a fight. My time will come. I have to be patient."

Ben Arfa also reveals that only one coach, before he came to Newcastle, had understood him completely, although the name may come as a surprise: Raymond Domenech. The controversial former France coach, who oversaw the country's disastrous World Cup campaign in 2010, gave Ben Arfa his first cap in 2007. "He understood me," Ben Arfa said. "It was in his eyes. He kept telling me: 'Do your thing'. I felt confident with him because I've known coaches who only use words but words doesn't always show that a coach trusts you, you must feel it."

The 24-year-old winger has begun to impress with Newcastle after returning to action after almost a year on the sidelines with a double leg fracture, scoring in last week's FA Cup third-round win against Blackburn. "It did me good not to be seen for a year. It just gave me time to move on and mature."

...to his own personal remake of Patrick McGoohan's 'The Prisoner'...
The Guardian"]Hatem Ben Arfa to be sued by French rapper over religious cult claims

•Newcastle winger made claims in newspaper interview

•Abd al Malik and his manager both plan to take legal action

Hatem Ben Arfa is to be sued for libel after claiming he was press-ganged into joining a sect by the French rapper Abd al Malik.

"A complaint will be filed," the artist's lawyer, Isabelle Weckstein, said, adding that Al Malik's manager, Fabien Coste, was also suing the Newcastle United winger.

Ben Arfa claimed in an interview with L'Equipe that while he was a teenager at Lyon he was sucked into Sufism – a branch of Islam – "like in a sect" and he was "indoctrinated" and "virtually cut off from the rest of the world".

He said only his "ego" ended up "saving" him after he refused to kiss the feet of the ruling sheikh: "I could not accept doing that. I didn't like what I was experiencing with them. Thankfully I managed to get out."

Ben Arfa also told the newspaper that one of the reasons he clashed with coaches in the past was because his father never told him he loved him. The 24-year-old promised he is now a changed man and is attempting to become a model professional at Newcastle.

...it seems young Hatem's been taking lessons from the Balotelli school of public image consultancy.
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