Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa reckons people will think he’s mad after setting his sights on winning the Ballon d’Or – the annual award handed out to the world’s greatest footballer, reports the Daily Mirror.
The French midfielder believes he is ready to follow in the footsteps of four-time-winner Lionel Messi, admitting he has finally grown up while on Tyneside.
Ben Arfa has made an excellent start to the season which has seen the Magpies pick up seven points form four games.
He has scored two goals, and won rave reviews for his performances, as he sets his sights on a place in the France squad for next year’s World Cup.
His manager Alan Pardew has claimed at his best, the 26-year-old is unplayable, and Ben Arfa himself believes the sky is the limit.
“I know some will think that I’m mad, but I still dream of the Ballon d’Or. I’m convinced it’s still possible,” Ben Arfa said.
“It’s not forbidden to dream. I still believe that one day I’ll be the best player in the world. But my biggest victory will not be that one, it’ll be of becoming a well-rounded man after overcoming so many obstacles.”
The Frenchman also admitted he has improved greatly in the past couple of years, both on and off the pitch.
“I’ve disappointed a lot of people over the years, I’ve annoyed many too. But those people were right, I was not very professional,” he added.
“I think I’ve gradually changed as I’ve grown up. I’ve understood some basic stuff with regards to the strength that a community brings.
“At 26, I still have plenty of time in front of me. I’m not about retirement just yet.”
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