"You got to have a dream. If you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?"
There is nothing wrong in aiming high and Hatem Ben Arfa certainly wasn't lacking in confidence when he spoke to France Football about himself and his career recently. The interview published today is a very interesting look at the boy wonder who is now becoming a man and it would be unfair on the player to make it sound like he spent several hours blowing his own trumpet.
Ben Arfa admits he's made mistakes and says that when he looks back on his younger self he feels embarrassed because he sees a boy who knew nothing about life and nothing about the football world. France Football seem to be trying to get him to voice regret as to where he ended up but he explains that playing professional football in England is a huge achievement and he's very happy with where he is.
He wants to improve and his ambitions are endless. Ben Arfa still has desire to be the world's best footballer and said "I know some will still take me for a fool, but I still dream of the Ballon d' Or for example. I am convinced that this is still possible."
Those are lofty aspirations but it sounds better than him saying he hopes he can kick on and become an important player. He knows how old he is, he knows there's not a lot of time left if he wants to move to that level and he needs to impress hugely at Newcastle United.
Ben Arfa continually points out his own faults and when talking about his Ballon d'Or dream, he says "Is it forbidden to dream? I disappointed a lot of people over the past year, I even annoyed a lot too no doubt. But those people were right. I was not very professional."
The Frenchman knows that he needs to work more for the team than himself, and that only through helping the team be successful will he receive benefit. It sounds like Ben Arfa has had a summer of realisation and he now knows what he needs to do, it sounds like the enfant terrible has grown up.
He acknowledges that if his career stopped now he would class it as a failure, and repeats a desire to be the best "I still believe that one day I will be the best player in the world."
There's nothing wrong with ambition.
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