Pulling off this bicycle kick, as Nice youngster Paulin Puel did this weekend against Monaco in a U19 game, would be impressive enough. But what really puts this one over the top is that backheel flick that sets him up. Put together, and you have a legit stunner.
This flash of brilliance from Hatem Ben Arfa is only his most recent in a run of incredible plays of late. That he didn’t score here doesn’t matter much, and Nice won the match anyway (on two Ben Arfa penalties), so let’s appreciate this for what it is.
This dribble is somehow even more ridiculous than the last time Hatem Ben Arfa popped onto our radar for doing something insane (in the good way, for once). If that little heel flick he did to get by the keeper wouldn’t have gotten cleared off the line, this would be an all-timer.
You almost feel like Hatem Ben Arfa’s entire time on a soccer pitch was destined to culminate in this moment. For years Ben Arfa’s career has flickered with brief moments of genius, intermittently successful attempts at squeezing through the tightest of openings and twirling past the thickest swarms of defenses,…