‘Sad’ Hatem Ben Arfa responds to retirement rumours

FREE AGENT ... Hatem Ben Arfa.
FREE AGENT ... Hatem Ben Arfa.

FORMER Newcastle United forward Hatem Ben Arfa will NOT retire from football – despite seeing his move to Nice collapse.

Ben Arfa – whose contract at St James’s Park was cancelled early last month – had signed an 18-month deal with French side Nice.

However, the move was later blocked due to FIFA regulations, which only allow players to appear for two clubs in one season.

The 27-year-old played for Hull City in an unsuccessful loan spell earlier this term, while an appearance for Newcastle’s Under-21s team was also deemed ‘official’.

Because of that, Ben Arfa would have been unable to represent Nice until next season, so he has decided to bring his time there to an early end.

The Frenchman is now considering a move abroad – but will not retire, contrary to reports earlier this week.

He said: “Of course I will continue my career. I will not dwell on this kind of event. You know me.

“I am sad, but I do not want to dwell on (it). To play football, I would go to the North Pole. I have had many messages of support. I want to thank everyone.

“Today I am still in shock. Give me a week and I will answer (of a possible destination).”

Ben Arfa added: “It’s finished with Nice, but perhaps not permanently.

“I would like to thank the staff, the coach and the players who have welcomed me very well.

“I will accept this decision and try to be positive. Do the best for the future.

“I will possibly go abroad. My main objective is to get back playing competitive football. I’ve got meetings planned.

“But I am especially sad to not be able to play. I will not say I’m sick of French football but I am very sad about the situation.”