Ben Arfa: I can win Ballon d'Or
Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa insists he is a realistic chance of being crowned the world's best footballer in the coming years, but admits people may think his assertions are "mad".
The Frenchman has been in resurgent form this season, scoring two goals in Newcastle's opening two Premier League games, with Toon boss Alan Pardew lauding the 26-year-old as one of the competition's greatest.
Ben Arfa believes he can join four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi as a recipient of the prestigious award.
"I know some will think that I'm mad, but I still dream of the Ballon d'Or," he is quoted in the Mirror. "I'm convinced it's still possible.
"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."
Ben Arfa developed a reputation for trouble early in his career but is hopeful he will be remembered for his on-field talents by the time he hangs up the boots.
"I've disappointed a lot of people over the years, I've annoyed many too," he added. "But those people were right, I was not very professional.
"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."