Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa hopes to emulate the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by getting his hands on one of football's most prestigious individual awards, the Ballon d'Or.

Ben Arfa has been in superb form this season, scoring in back-to-back wins against Fulham and Aston Villa, but still has a lot of work to do if he's become a contender for the title of Europe's best player.

The Frenchman was touted as one of the world's brightest talents when he joined Marseille from Lyon for nearly £10m in 2008 but he's yet to fulfil his undoubted potential, and question marks were raised over his professionalism.

But Sky Sports are reporting that, in an interview with France Football, Ben Arfa suggested he'd grown up in recent years and was looking to get his hands on some individual silverware.

"I know some will still take me for a fool, but I still dream for example of the Ballon d'Or," he revealed. "I am convinced that this is still possible. It is forbidden to dream? I disappointed a lot of people over the past years, I even annoyed a lot too, no doubt, but these people were right. I was not very professional. I think I gradually changed as I grew up."

Ben Arfa had an unfortunate start to life at St James' Park when, in just his fifth game for Newcastle, a Nigel de Jong horror tackle left him with a broken leg and ultimately resulted in him missing the rest of the season.

One of a number of Frenchman bought to the club by Alan Pardew, Ben Arfa will be hoping to add to his 13 caps for Didier Deschamps side, despite having not featured for Les Bleus since Euro 2012, when he started in the final group game of the tournament, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Sweden.

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