Djibril Cissé says Hatem Ben Arfa is “as good as Lionel Messi”
Former Liverpool star Djibril Cissé has made a sensational claim that Hatem Ben Arfa is “as good as Lionel Messi” despite the Frenchman being widely seen as not having reached his potential.
Ben Arfa has played for 10 clubs during his senior career and was part of teams that have won nine major trophies, all in his native France.
The 34-year-old has become a fan favorite at Newcastle, scoring 14 goals and notching 15 assists in all competitions during his four seasons at St James’ Park.
But while he might be capable of incredible winning performances in the Premier League and Ligue 1, he was also extremely inconsistent, leading many to believe that he never quite fulfilled his destiny.
Is Dijbril Cissé right to compare Hatem Ben Arfa to Lionel Messi? Comments below.
Ben Arfa is currently a free agent after a stint in Bordeaux, where he became a regular with the French team before being released.
He had previously enjoyed his most productive season at Nice in the 2015/2016 campaign, scoring 17 Ligue 1 goals from midfield.
In contrast, Messi last scored under 20 goals in the 2007/2008 season, scoring more than 30 goals in nine campaigns since then.
The Argentine superstar has become one of the greatest players in the world during his time in Barcelona.
He won 21 major trophies at Camp Nou before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his contract.
Messi’s stay at Parc des Princes has not gone as planned so far, with the 34-year-old yet to score in Ligue 1.
Perhaps emboldened by this poor start to his career in France, Cissé claimed that Ben Arfa is just as good as the Argentinian.
Cissé has never played alongside either player at club level, despite having been Ben Arfa’s teammate in the France national team.
And it looks like despite that limited contact, Ben Arfa left a strong impression on the former Liverpool star.
Cissé made an appearance on the YouTube show Soyons Foot, to discuss the generation of the 1987 France youth team, which included such figures as Ben Arfa, Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri.
But although Benzema has become one of the best strikers in the world at Real Madrid, it was Ben Arfa who left Cisse in awe.
“Technically Hatem… I may sound crazy but I think Ben Arfa at a good level is as good as Messi. I saw him do things … […] I repeat, Hatem at his best is Messi, ”said Cissé.
Ben Arfa’s last game came in early May, with the Frenchman being ruled out in the final weeks of the campaign due to a back injury.
He has also never faced Messi at club level and will be denied the opportunity to do so unless he can find a French club to join before the end of the season.
Messi, meanwhile, hopes to appear for PSG on Wednesday night when he travels to RB Leipzig in the Champions League.