Former Newcastle twinkle-toes Hatem Ben Arfa returns to sport - But it's not football?!

Former Newcastle United attacker Hatem Ben Arfa has returned to competing in sports - But this time, it's not football.

Celebrity At The 2022 French Open - Day Ten
Celebrity At The 2022 French Open - Day Ten / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages
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Who remembers Hatem Ben Arfa? In truth, it's hard to forget the former Newcastle United winger, who inspired a generation to fall in love with football given his dribbling ability. I'd by lying if I said he was one of our best players of all time but he goes down as a cult hero, purely for the period of time he played for us and what could have been had it not been for injuries.

We originally signed Ben Arfa on a season-long loan deal, before he unfortunately suffered a long-term injury. Nevertheless, from what we saw of the Frenchman, we knew he was the real deal so took the plunge by signing him permanently.

As mentioned, it was his dribbling ability which really caught the eye. There weren't many around during his time who could dribble so effortlessly and have the skills which he had up his sleeve.

Anyone hoping for a swift return to Newcastle for Ben Arfa can unfortunately remain disappointed. According to a new report by Chronicle Live, Ben Arfa has returned to being an athlete but not within the realm of football. The report states that Ben Arfa is taking up paddel, which in truth, I had never heard of either. Essentially, paddel is best described as a mixture between squash and tennis and certainly, it could be the next big thing.

As much as I love the current crop of Newcastle lads, I can't imagine they'd be great with a ball and racket. Think about Fabian Schar for example, he'd probably want to headbutt the ball and Bruno Guimaraes would want to scrap anybody that comes up against him. That said, Ben Arfa can be safe in the knowledge he won't get any competition from the Toon anytime soon.

What's your best Hatem Ben Arfa memory?