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Hatem Ben Arfa has not lost his eye for a spectacular finish

Earlier this year Hatem Ben Arfa sarcastically ‘celebrated’ a year away from first-team action. Now he is a player reborn

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

Joyeux anniversaire à moi,” read the caption as Hatem Ben Arfa posed, thumbs up and grinning. A small cake with a single candle sat in front of him, but celebrating he was not. The 31-year-old’s birthday had passed a month previously; instead his Instagram post back in April was born of sarcasm. “One year without a game calls for a party,” he joked. Exiled at PSG, a full year had passed since Ben Arfa had played – and scored twice – in a 4-0 win over Avranches in the Coupe de France. His career was seemingly petering out but, as this week has shown, the unpredictable Frenchman isn’t finished just yet.

Football faded from view this weekend in France as bubbling civil unrest instigated by the gilets jaunes movement forced six of 10 Ligue 1 games to be postponed as the stretched police force were unable to guarantee safety at many grounds. Some, including managers of the teams left to continue as normal, questioned the decision to play at all. However, Rennes forward Ben Arfa – once of Newcastle United and Hull City – showed no sign of relinquishing his newfound verve.

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