Alan Pardew: "With the ball at his feet, he's magic. As magic as [Luis] Suarez or Messi at times.
"We had to work with him to understand exactly what he's about. He has got a special talent, we know he's special."
The Frenchman knows he has the ability to do more and has been quoted by Le10 Sport today as saying that he still thinks he can get to Messi's level.
Hatem Ben Arfa: "I regret not being mature earlier, because I think today I'd have evolved to a higher level.
"Maybe I'd be like him (Messi) today. But I still have time, I can catch up."
We don't doubt he does have moments of magic, but - God forbid - Messi has just about broken every goalscoring record going, and he is only 25.
The fact is, Ben Arfa is (Born: March 7, 1987) is three months older than Messi (Born: 24 June 1987), but due to injury, has played exactly 100 league/cup games less than the Barcelona player.
As for goals, Ben Arfa has scored 25 at the top level - Messi has scored 221.
HATEM BEN ARFA:
Years Team Apps† (Gls)† 2004–2008 Lyon 64 (7) 2008–2011 Marseille 63 (9) 2010–2011 Newcastle United (loan) 4 (1) 2011– Newcastle United 39 (8)
Years Team Apps† (Gls)† 2003–4 Barcelona C 10 (5) 2004–2005 Barcelona B 22 (10) 2004– Barcelona 238 (206)
Source: Newcastle United Mad