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Ex-Newcastle man Hatem Ben Arfa refutes potential retirement reports

St James Park

The former Newcastle United forward will not be retiring following FIFA's refusal to allow him to play for Nice.

Former Newcastle United player Hatem Ben Arfa has ruled out retirement in an interview with L’Equipe.

The 27-year-old recently signed an 18-month deal with French club Nice after Newcastle terminated his contract, but was refused international clearance to play for them by FIFA.

That was because he had already appeared in competitive games for both Hull City and Newcastle this season. Nice had argued that ruling on the basis that he had only represented Newcastle’s reserve team, but unfortunately for them FIFA deem under-21 professional development league matches as competitive fixtures.

That means Ben Arfa will not be free to play for another club until the summer at least, and Nice have cancelled his contract as a result. However, the player, who once claimed that he could win the Ballon D’Or, remains hopeful of finding a way forward and has denied claims that he has plans to retire.

“Today I’m finished with Nice, but maybe not forever” he said.

“I want to thank everyone here – it’s a real regret that I can’t continue, but sometimes you have to accept it and move on.”

The player has said that he would be willing to play at the North Pole in order to play football, and has not ruled out the possibility of a move to another European club, or a potential second deal with the French side.

“I am ready to go to the North Pole to play,” he added.

“Now I just have to do the best I can for the future. The solution may be to go abroad. Would I go to Russia? For now I can’t really speculate – I just have to think.”

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