Newcastle forward Hatem Ben Arfa has called for tougher punishments on dangerous tackles as he continues his recovery from the challenge by Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong which almost cost him his leg.
The France international returned to training on Monday with a view to making his comeback before the end of the season after being left with a double leg fracture at the hands of De Jong last October. Ben Arfa has accepted a texted apology from De Jong - who escaped without a yellow card at the time - but wants stricter measures in order to avoid a repeat.
He told Canal Plus: "I do not really understand English. But in his text, he told me he did not intend to hurt me and he was sorry. I told him it was okay, it was football. Anyway, the problem is that there was not even fault. I think he can get away with anything if there are no sanctions."
He added: "I do not want to come down on the referees, but we still have to protect players a little more so if he wants to tackle like this again he thinks twice."
Ben Arfa, who in January signed a four-and-a-half-year deal to keep him at St James' Park until the summer of 2015 despite having played only four games for the club on loan from Marseille, is now keen to get back on the pitch and repay the Magpies' faith in him.
"The club gave me much respect, much love," he said.
"I want to do a lot for this club because they gave me great confidence. For a human being, that's huge. It touched me."
Ben Arfa also revealed he required emergency surgery to save his leg.
Quoted in several newspapers, he said: "I needed a second operation because I had an infection. It was a big infection which could have been very dangerous.
"I was told that I could have had my leg cut off if they didn't operate on me very quickly."
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