Thu 30 Nov 2023, 13:59 by Ash Harrison

Former Newcastle man Hatem Ben Arfa has turned his talents to a new sport since leaving Lille

Former Newcastle man Hatem Ben Arfa has turned his talents to a new sport since leaving Lille
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Former Newcastle United fan-favourite midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has found a new lease of life away from football.

The tricky forward was a hugely popular figure during his time at Newcastle thanks to his genius ability with the ball at his feet. However, his work rate was constantly called into question and it made for a difficult relationship between him and Alan Pardew.

He was eventually loaned to Hull where he worked under Steve Bruce and like any sane footballer would do in those circumstances, he opted to walk away from the club and disappear, eventually having his contract terminated at Newcastle.

Ben Arfa holds a special place in Geordie hearts

Ben Arfa will always be remembered for his excellent runs and close control. His first goal for Newcastle was an absolute rocket against Everton but it was his goal against Bolton that sticks in most people's memory.

Now though, after leaving Lille last year, it looks like 36-year-old Ben Arfa is directing his efforts towards padel tennis.

The Frenchman is now ranked in the top 1500 in the world after winning 70 tournaments over the last year in the sport.

Hatem Ben Arfa: Padel tennis legend ... and former footballer apparently

Padel tennis is played on a smaller court than regular tennis and is often played in doubles and requires a different skillset to become proficient.

Whatever floats your boat, Hatem. When Sky Sports picks up the padel tennis world championships we'll be sure to tune in to cheer him on.

We're not going to lie, we'd not even heard of padel tennis before now.

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