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Ben Arfa, art without the way

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Image – Winston PENN

Latest Football News – Highly critical of the Stade Rennais game, Hatem Ben Arfa made a disappointing media appearance this Sunday. The attacking midfielder still felt the need to say what he had on the heart in front of the press. A desire for laudable honesty that has marked his career. But the worry is that he never puts the form.

Tirelessly, history repeats itself. This is true for the big. But also for that of Hatem Ben Arfa. Each time, HBA regularly finds a way to end an adventure with his club in a freezing climate. And most often, his “honesty” so poorly controlled is not foreign. His exit Sunday, after the draw conceded by Rennes against the red lantern Guingamp (1-1), is both lunar and symbolic of the often missed communication of the former wonder of Clairefontaine. In a few sentences in front of the pickups, the left handed cut Stade Rennais and his style of play and left a hover over his future.

As often with Ben Arfa, there is the background and the form. And as often, he tapped next to the form. Let’s understand: the bottom can be understood. After a small season in Rennes where he bounced back, the attacking midfielder has the right to want to live something else. It can also legitimately not take pleasure with the style proposed by the Breton club, the level of play “limited” according to him. This is respected. Each his own. And his way of living his job. At 32 and after several years wasted for various reasons, it is also not illogical that he wants to find happiness. And that he dreams of flushing it to another country as the end of his career approaches.

His contract did not force him to do that

The problem is elsewhere. In his way of doing it and managing his frustration. That he is annoyed by the whistles during his replacement is also understandable. But again, that does not excuse anything. He did not need to show his annoyance in front of the reporters. No need to do so with such critical terms towards his young coach Julien Stéphan: “We are not ambitious enough, we are fearful,” he said. Or even vis-à-vis the Breton public: “It’s been 48 years since they had not had a cup, they have never lived a European epic like that and they whistle like that, all that I can say it’s thank you, “he said, acerbic.

Hatem Ben Arfa could have avoided that. Already because it is not irreproachable during this exercise. If he has had some lightning throughout the season and is obviously involved in this liberating success for the Stade Rennais in the Coupe de France or in the good run in the Europa League, he has not been consistent enough in the performance for allow yourself to give lessons. But he could especially not give in to his anger because of his contract that did not require him to go to the clash a few days before the end of the season.

Ben Arfa did not help himself

He only signed in Rennes one year with an optional year. He is free in June. If he wants to leave, he can. Without making too much waves. But here it is, HBA had trouble retaining its whole character. And from time to time, he has to let go of the valve when frustrations accumulate. “I do not like mediocrity and when I see that something is wrong, I have to let it know because I want the environment to progress, and since I’m not a sheep, people want to make you pay your honesty, “he confessed last month to France 3. A revelation that says a lot about his personality. Here again, it respects itself. But the concern remains the form that is not adequate.

Between his clash with Jean-Claude Dassier at OM, his almost unreal video posted on Instagram to express his uneasiness in Paris or his arrest of Nasser Al-Khelaïfi during a training, his career is finally marked by many confusing outings. And an impression is needed: obsessed with his desire “honesty and righteousness”, Ben Arfa clearly did not help trying to unlock situations that did not fit him in a medium used to the language of wood. While he had already been talked about during a surprising crop of Olivier Letang in front of the group a few days before the final of the Coupe de France as reported by L’Equipe, his visit to Rennes will have nothing changed.


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