Newcastle news

Ben Arfa: I could have lost my leg

April 5, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has said he could have lost his leg after the tackle by Nigel De Jong that left him needing emergency surgery.

Hatem Ben Arfa
GettyImagesHatem Ben Arfa is stretchered off

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Ben Arfa broke his leg in the tackle from the Dutchman on October 3 at Eastlands and has been out of action ever since. The French international had only played four games for Newcastle before the injury, but now admits that his entire career was on the line.

"I needed a second operation because I had an infection. It was a big infection which could have been very dangerous,'' he said. "I was told that I could have had my leg cut off if they didn't operate on me very quickly."

The 24-year-old former Marseille star says he had resigned himself to having to hang up his boots altogether.

"You take a blow, that's for sure, and I started seeing myself as someone whose career was over, who no longer plays football," he added. "That brought me closer to my friends and family and I started to really think about things because I wasn't in the spotlight. I travelled a bit and the break did me a lot of good and hopefully it stands me in good stead for the future."

Ben Arfa, who joined Newcastle on a permanent basis in January, has yet to play under new boss Alan Pardew but insists that he will repay the club's faith in him once he returns.

"Newcastle showed me so much respect and a lot of love that I want to give back to them,'' he said. "I will give everything I can for this club because they trusted me and, for a human being, that is really touching."