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From Premier League to Padel, Hatem Ben Arfa’s remarkable sports transition

Hatem Ben Arfa, a former Premier League star, has transitioned into the sport of padel following his departure from professional football.

A former standout of the Premier League is forging a new path in sports following what seemed like the conclusion of his football career. Hatem Ben Arfa, renowned for his time at Newcastle United, hasn’t formally retired from football but has remained club-less since departing from Lille in 2022 due to a falling out with manager Jocelyn Gourvennec.

Previously, he showcased his skills in both England and France with clubs such as Lyon, Marseille, Hull City, Nice, and Paris Saint-Germain. Now at 37, Ben Arfa is exploring another athletic pursuit, and he seems to be excelling in it.

The Frenchman has embraced the growing sport of padel, a variant of tennis played on a smaller court. Impressively, he clinched victory in 70 tournaments within a single year and, by the conclusion of 2023, reportedly ranked among the top 1,500 out of 42,000 competitive players globally.

Roland Mermillod, a prominent official in the sport, shed light on Ben Arfa’s dedication to padel. He disclosed to Le Parisien: “Hatem doesn’t do anything more than that. He plays almost every day.”

Despite his noteworthy football career, there lingered a sense within the sport that he hadn’t fully realized his immense potential. Concerns arose regarding his physique, with suggestions that he didn’t maintain himself off the field.

In a candid interview, Ben Arfa’s former agent, Frederic Guerra, offered insights into the player’s career trajectory. He remarked to RMC Sport: “It’s a psychological thing from his childhood. He was king, king, king. He was always told what he deserves but never told to work.”

“I was convinced that I had a player that, if we worked on his mind, would win the Ballon d’Or. He was so talented. It’s a huge waste – maybe the biggest waste in football of the 21st century.”

“There are plenty of players that were told early on that they would be pearls and still made it. Cristiano Ronaldo became a huge worker early on, Karim Benzema took exactly the same route. It takes work, talent is not enough.”

Newcastle United performance and stats

Newcastle United is currently 6th in the Premier League with 57 points.

In the last 37 games, it has won 17 times, drawn 6 times, and lost 14 times. In its last match, Newcastle United lost 3-2 against Manchester United.​​

It has a positive goal difference after scoring 79 goals and conceding 57.​