Former Newcastle United fan-favourite Hatem Ben Arfa has been officially released by Ligue 1 side Rennes, and will be a free agent this summer.

An enigmatic player, he scored some sensational goals for the Magpies during his time on Tyneside – none more memorable than his FA Cup solo effort at St James’ Park against Blackburn Rovers in 2012.

Often accused of being lazy when it came to defensive duties, the player never seemed to be given a fair opportunity by then manager Alan Pardew.

When he was allowed to go to Hull on loan, and subsequently released, many fans thought it would ultimately prove to be a mistake that would come back to bite them.

He signed for Paris St Germain, but the move never really worked out for him, as he struggled to get first team opportunities, and following a dispute over a fine, and feeling he was frozen out of contention, he threatened to take the club to court.

(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

But he has never reached the heights his unquestionable talent deserved, and he seems to make more headlines for public spats with managers than he has for his footballing abilities.

Regardless, many Newcastle fans would love to see him back in a black and white shirt at St James’ Park.

But not all fans are so keen, with some pointing out that the past should remain the past, and Newcastle should look forwards not backwards.

So even now, it seems that Ben Arfa continues to divide opinion. But what is not in doubt, is what a sensational player he could be on his day.