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Hatem Ben Arfa

Published: Saturday 12 May 2012, 18.21CET
Newcastle United FC
Published: Saturday 12 May 2012, 18.21CET

Hatem Ben Arfa

Newcastle United FC

Five times a French champion, Hatem Ben Arfa broke his leg shortly after joining Newcastle United FC in 2010 but recovered superbly in 2011/12 to warrant an international recall. Fast, skilful, penetrative and possessing an excellent left foot, he has yet to represent France at a major tournament.

• Born in the Parisian suburbs to a Tunisian father, his prodigious talent earned him a place at the celebrated Clairefontaine academy and he was recruited by Olympique Lyonnais aged 15; won the 2004 European U17 title with France on home soil, scoring three goals to become the tournament's joint top marksman.

• Made his senior debut for Lyon at 17, in August 2004, and was on the fringes of the first team for the club's title wins in 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07.

• Enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2007/08, scoring six goals in 30 Ligue 1 appearances and winning the French double with Lyon, though he did not play in the Coupe de France final; also won his first six senior international caps that season, the first of them on 13 October 2007 in a UEFA European Championship qualifier in the Faroe islands, which he marked with a goal in a 6-0 win.

• Left Lyon for Marseille in 2008 at a cost of €12 million and started all six games in the UEFA Champions League group stage; second place in Ligue 1 in his first season was followed by another French title – and League Cup win – in his second, but a disagreement with coach Didier Deschamps triggered his departure to Newcastle.

• Missed most of his debut season in the Premier League as a result of a fracture to left fibula and tibia sustained in October 2010 against Manchester City FC; returned to fitness and form in 2011/12, scoring a couple of brilliant solo goals and helping Newcastle qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

• Scored France's consolation goal in Laurent Blanc's first game as head coach – a 2-1 defeat in Norway – but played no part in the team's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign as he recuperated from injury.

UEFA honours
UEFA European Under-17 Championship: winner 2004

Last updated: 15/05/12 21.52CET

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