Ben Arfa tells OM: 'It's over'

Standoff as Olympique Marseille say they will not sell France star to Newcastle.

    Ben Arfa helped Marseille to their first title in 18 years last season [EPA]

    France midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa says he will not play for French champions Olympique Marseille again – and has demanded a move to promoted English Premier League side Newcastle United.

    Ben Arfa scored the only goal in France's 2-1 defeat to Norway in midweek, but missed two training session's in a row for his club and was dropped for their opening Ligue 1 match, a 3-2 loss to Valenciennes.

    A tense standoff has developed between club and player, with Marseille insisting he was staying.

    "I will not go back to the Commanderie (Marseille's training base)," Ben Arfa told French sports daily L'Equipe on Sunday.

    "It's over. I'm ready not to play this season."

    Marseille said Newcastle had made no serious offer for the gifted but temperamental 23-year-old.

    Ben Arfa, however, said that a deal could be done.

    "Newcastle have committed themselves to give Marseille what they were asking for, which is a loan with an option to buy me," he said.

    Marseille, under former French World Cup winner Didier Deschamps, have started the defence of their title in poor fashion, losing their first two league matches.

    The club confirmed on Saturday  that Senegal striker Mamadou Niang, last season's top scorer in Ligue 1 with 18 goals, was leaving them for Turkish side Fenerbahce.

    Ballack back

    German international midfield star Michael Ballack played his first match on Sunday after a three month absence through injury which cost him captaining
    Germany at the World Cup finals.

    The 33-year-old played in a friendly for his new club Bayer Leverkusen against third division Wiesbaden, setting up one of the goals in a 4-0 victory a week away from the start of the Bundesliga season.

    Ballack suffered a miserable end of season despite winning the English Premier League title and FA Cup with Chelsea, the latter win over Portsmouth saw him suffer the ankle injury that ruled him out of the World Cup finals.

    He was subsequently released by Chelsea and there are now question marks as to whether he will regain the German captaincy as the Germans produced impressive football to finish third in South Africa with stand-in captain Philip Lahm.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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