- Hatem Ben Arfa signed up for six months with the Spanish club Valladolid, 51% owned by the Brazilian Ronaldo.
- But what do fans really know Blanquivioletas of the Ben Arfa phenomenon (on and off the field)? Has his reputation (good and / or bad) crossed the Pyrenees? Attempted response in this paper.
Hallelujah! After seven months of uncertainty and unemployment spent in keeping fit, between work with a physical trainer (twice a day, according to The Team) and some fives between friends on the right, on the left in the Paris region,
Hatem Ben Arfa is ready to return to football. And it's in the small Spanish club in Valladolid,
51% bought by Ronaldo in the summer of 2018, that the former Rennes player has chosen to become a professional footballer again. The symbol is strong.
😱💜 ¡Ben Arfa!
– Real Valladolid C.F. (@realvalladolid) January 28, 2020
Hand in hand with Il Fenomeno, the new number 3 of Real Valladolid poses all smiles for a photo that smells of street football and butterflies in the belly. For fans of " Pucelanos "Is the culmination of a morning split between surprise, excitement and doubt. Because if Ben Arfa is the right choice of Ronaldo in person, we wanted to know what state of mind the supporters were after the formalization of the transfer (six-month contract).
Valladolid dreamed of it, Il Fenomeno did it
Everyone agrees on one point: as for the Niçois and Rennais before them, the arrival of Ben Arfa "is a great event for our club". "It really represents a dream", gets excited David, "hincha" of Blanquivioletas since any kid. "Ben Arfa is one of the players who have made me dream since I was young and today he is part of my club, it's incredible!" Rejoices Javier Lopez, 36, also a fan of "Puceaux" (Valladolid is nicknamed "the Maid", some of its inhabitants having gone to fight alongside Joan of Arc in the 15th century) from the cradle. It’s been years since we’ve had such a strong and media player. In addition here in Valladolid, we are always in the extreme: Either everything is black, or everything is white. So with the arrival of Ben Arfa, you can imagine that we are all excited. "
At 32 years old (soon 33, he will have them on March 7), the former international will discover a Spanish championship which has always attracted him but which until now represented a succession of missed meetings (recently, we were still talking from him at Espanyol in Barcelona or Betis). This time, La Liga will finally be entitled to its Ben Arfa mania.
Playstation, highlights and bad reputation
Finally, that's what we imagine with our French eyes, both gaga of the player and frustrated by his career in yoyo. But what about on the other side of the Pyrenees? "Ben Arfa is very well known and much admired in Spain," explains Javier Lopez. He's a millennial player. At one point, the kids took Ben Arfa all the time on console because he had an extraordinary technique and he was one of the best in the game. We all remember this goal scored with Newcastle, the kind of a feat that leaves you speechless. Here he will be an idol. "
Like any good self-respecting supporter, Javier spent a good part of his Tuesday morning watching player highlights on Youtube: "We know these videos don't mean much but it was impossible not to watch ! Five minutes of video from Ben Arfa is just crazy. I think there are few players in the world who can do what he does. "That was for the good side of the guy. But the dark side of the French did not escape Valladolid fans either.
"We know that he lacks discipline and that he lags behind a certain reputation, especially when it comes to his character," admits David. But on land, it’s a star. " "I know that at PSG he had problems with Unai Emery and that before that, already, he had experienced behavioral problems," says Javier. I'm not going to lie: some supporters are asking questions. But hey, we hope to see a more mature, responsible Ben Arfa, who knows where he is stepping, that is to say in a humble club with a team that is only held by the union of players, mutual aid, solidarity. "
ESTOY CORRIENDO DESNUDO POR ZORRILLA CON LA MUSICA DEL FIFA13 A 148 DECIBELIOS pic.twitter.com/jBZ0qCltgC
– gianniotismo (@arguelloo_RV) January 28, 2020
"I run naked with the music of Fifa 13 at 148 decibels".
Great hopes and little worries
Landing in Valladolid, Ben Arfa ticked two of the main criteria that guided him in his quest for a rebound: playing in Spain and being the star of the team.
It's not complicated when you take a look at the squad and see the situation for the team this season (16th in La Liga), unable to win a single league game since November 3. When asked what his players are worth, Javier Lopez does not hide. "Frankly, it's not crazy," he admits. It’s very difficult to score goals, in part because the balls do not get to the front, or badly. We need a guy who, when he has the ball, knows what to do with it and improves his team’s game. Ben Arfa has the quality and the composure to help us. The profile seems to stick indeed. “Here we like players who want it, who give everything. Workers, ”he adds. Ah …
It is not so much the player's mentality as his physical state that most concerns the followers of the Pucelanos. "Yes, that scares us a little," admits Lopez. Especially since he only signed for six months, he shouldn't get hurt … I'm afraid it would take him too long to get back into good physical condition. But we tell ourselves that if he agreed to come, it is that he is really motivated. It should help him get back in shape quickly. »After several summers getting the hang of the delayed recovery, Hatem Ben Arfa knows the song. There is nothing left but to dance now.