Overshadowed in the international selection controversy sparked by Eric Cantona’s comments and Karim Benzema’s fanning of the flames was Cantona’s lamentation that Hatem Ben Arfa wasn’t called up for the France team for the Euros. As understandable as the Ben Arfa snub is, it’s still sad. Because Ben Arfa has been eating people alive this year.
We’ve covered a few of the Nice attacker’s feats of skill this season, but now that it’s officially over, we have the above video to memorialize the torn knee ligaments and snapped ankles and obliterated egos Ben Arfa’s magic feet have counted as casualties this year. It’s wild to think that just a year ago, Ben Arfa was out of the professional game and well on his way to becoming one of those sad “Where are they now?” guys. Now, after just a season with Nice, he’s reasserted himself as an absolutely world-class dribbler with a scoring ability to match.
Though Ben Arfa’s career resurrection hasn’t been rewarded with a spot on the national team, next time we do see him suiting up, it’ll almost certainly be on a bigger stage than before. His contract with Nice was only for one year, and his explosion back onto the scene means a number of Champions League teams, including Barcelona, are looking to bring him in. And if he keeps emasculating people on the pitch the way he’s done all season, he’ll be back in France’s blue sooner than later.