Ben Arfa: Newcastle my personal hell

Hatem Ben Arfa has described his last days at Newcastle as "hell" and claims he felt like a "prisoner" during his fallout with the Premier League club.

The 28-year-old joined the Magpies from Marseille in 2010, initially on loan before he made the move permanent six months later.

However, his career at St James' Park started badly as Ben Arfa suffered a double leg break in only his third appearance for the north-east outfit, which kept him on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

The Frenchman fell out of favour with then Toon manager Alan Pardew at the start of the 2014/15 campaign and subsequently spent a six-month loan spell with Hull City.

He was finally released by the Tynesiders in January this year and signed for Nice, but FIFA regulations prevented him from turning out for the Ligue 1 side until this term.

Now back to the form which persuaded the Magpies to bring him to England, Ben Arfa has been recalled to the France squad after scoring seven goals in 13 appearances for Les Aiglons, and he has finally opened up about his "nightmare" on Tyneside.

"It was a very, very difficult period. The worst of my career. It was as if my hell began at Newcastle," he told France Football.

"There, on the first day back in August 2014, I was placed directly with the reserves. A terrible humiliation. Weeks passed and I was always with these young 16 and 17-year-olds on land away from those pros.

"I did not understand. They gave me a nightmare. It was full of little cheap shots. And when I believed in me [getting out] by signing for Nice, they were forbidden to hire me [until July]."

Remarking on his six-month exile, Ben Arfa said: "I had the feeling of being locked in a dark room without a door, or in an endless tunnel.

"I saw hell and especially no solution to my problems. At that time, I was wrong, I did not see any light. I was a prisoner. I was slapping myself every day to not let go.

"I tried to convince myself that the light was coming back, I was going to find the right path. By signing this summer with Nice, I really felt out of hell. In fact, that's it, I come back from hell."