The France international has been in excellent form in the early stages of the Premier League season, capping a fine performance against Aston Villa with a goal.
The 26-year-old has struggled for consistency over his career and has made just 13 international appearances for France since being handed his debut six years ago.
But Ben Arfa believes he has answered critics of his attitude and he is determined to emulate the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by being voted as Europe's No 1 footballer.
"I know some will still take me for a fool, but I still dream for example of the Ballon d'Or," he told France Football. "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."