Ex-Liverpool ace Cisse claims Newcastle hero Ben Arfa is "as good as Messi"

Former Liverpool ace Djibril Cisse has remarkably claimed Hatem Ben Arfa is "as good as Lionel Messi" despite the former Newcastle midfielder failing to live up to expectation in the Premier League.

Ben Arfa penned a four and a half year contract with the Magpies in 2011 after impressing on loan from Marseille.

But the Frenchman endured an injury-riddled spell on Tyneside which limited his game time and he was released from his contract in January 2015 after unexpectedly leaving the country whilst on loan at Hull.

Memorable goals against Blackburn and Bolton wrote his name into Toon folklore, with his mesmerising run against Wanderers receiving Match of the Day's Goal of the Month award for April.

Now, ex-international teammate Djibril Cisse has compared the silky runs of Ben Arfa to that of PSG star Lionel Messi when appearing on YouTube show Soyons Foot.

"Technically, Hatem… I might seem crazy but I think that Ben Arfa at a good level is as good as a Messi," said Cisse.

"I’ve seen him do things… […] I’ll say it again, Hatem at his best, is Messi."

Did Hatem Ben Arfa have Lionel Messi tendencies? Let us know in the comments section.

There is still a sense of what might have been for Ben Arfa at Newcastle, had those dazzling displays not been so rare.

Though rarity is not something that can be attributed to PSG star Lionel Messi.

The Argentine single-handedly won previous club Barcelona match upon match, before joining the Parisians in the summer on a free transfer.

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Due to their poor financial situation, the Catalan giants were unable to register Messi in time for the new season and their prized asset opted to join Mauricio Pochettino's star-studded squad.

As for Ben Arfa, the 34-year-old is currently a free agent having been released by Bordeaux at the end of the previous campaign.

Two goals in 24 appearances were not enough for the club to exercise their option of a further year amidst notable fallouts with captain Laurent Koscielny and manager Jean-Louis Gasset.

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