HATEM Ben Arfa labelled his goal against Blackburn Rovers as the best of his career.
The forward scored arguably the individual goal of the FA Cup’s third round in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Ben Arfa evaded half a dozen challenges before beating Mark Bunn in the visiting goal to get Alan Pardew’s side back on level terms.
Jonas Gutierrez showed a deftness of touch to net the winner deep in injury time.
Ben Arfa’s goal saw him compared to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in one newspaper in his native France, and Pardew claimed it was the “greatest goal, technically” he’d ever seen after the final whistle at the Sports Direct Arena.
The 24-year-old last week went public with his frustration at a lack of starts at Newcastle.
However, having been handed his first start in a month, and helped his team into the fourth round of the competition, Ben Arfa was all smiles after the game.
“It’s my best ever goal,” Ben Arfa said.
“I knew I could score that type of goal, and it was special to score it in such a big cup competition like this. Everybody talks about the FA Cup, and I’m so happy that we’ve won and are still in the competition.
“As I say I know I can score those goals when I get the chance.
“I’ve said recently that I am 100 per cent fit. It means I can do this type of goal more times in the future. Now it is important to build up more confidence to do it more often in the future.”
United were trailing to David Goodwillie’s first-half strike when Ben Arfa took the ball in the middle of the pitch.
The France international showed an electric turn of pace as he glided past challenge after challenge, eventually cutting on to his left foot and shooting into the roof of the net.
“Sometimes a game needs a moment like that,” added Ben Arfa.
“Defences get too tight, and when you run with the ball, you can break defences and put defenders under pressure.
“It can be very important, but I’m very happy, more importantly, that we have won.If I had have done that and we’d lost, then it means nothing.
“To do it and help a win means I couldn’t be happier.”
Ben Arfa missed the bulk of last season after suffering a horrific double leg break, and he admits he’d dreamt of scoring such a goal during his “darker times”, and in the playground as a youngster growing up in the suburbs of Paris.
“I dreamt of scoring a goal like that during darker times,” said Ben Arfa.
“I guess it is everybody’s dream to score a goal like that. Those dreams keep you going. Even when I was at school and playing with my friends, we always tried to score goals like the one against Blackburn.
“I’ve been doing it since I was small. I always used to say to be friends at school ‘I hope one day I can score a goal like that as a professional’.”
Newcastle will meet either Brighton and Hove Albion or Wrexham in the fourth round of the FA Cup.