It did not take long for former Lyon academy star Hatem Ben Arfa to respond to the news of Jean-Michel Aulas’ departure from the Lyon presidency. The player who was once thought of as the future of French football took to Instagram to criticise Aulas: “You will not be missed in football”.
Many have rushed to defend the now-former president. One of those voices is Lyon great Sonny Anderson, who now works for the club in an advisory role. In an interview on beIN Sports, Anderson condemned Ben Arfa’s comments, calling them “shameful and inappropriate.”
With the wave of praise that followed Aulas’ announcement of his departure as president of OL after 36 years, Ben Arfa’s message was a sharp departure from had been seen from the rest of football community. A former agent of Ben Arfa, Frédéric Guerra, as well as José Anigo, also criticised HBA for his “ingratitude” towards the man who launched his career as a professional footballer.
Sonny Anderson continued his defense of his former boss, telling beIN Sports “A president like Jean-Michel Aulas who signed his first contract for him, who put him in the world of professional football… Today, thinking like that is completely out of place and shameful on the part of a player who graduated from the OL academy and was courted all over the world. He played in the French national team, he played in England, it’s thanks to what Jean-Michel Aulas did for him at the start of his career. Yes, I find that inappropriate and shameful.”
Ben Arfa has had a long history of internal battles with his teammates, coaches, and superiors. He was famously separated from PSG after a disagreement with the president of PSG, Nasser Al Khelaifi.
GFFN Tony DesRois