Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after a hamstring injury was discovered to be worse that first feared.

The France international suffered the injury while playing against Anzhi Makhachkala in the first leg of their Europa League tie in Moscow and it has been revealed that he will now need an operation on his hamstring.

"He needs an operation on his hamstring and he could miss the rest of the year (season)," Pardew told Reuters. "It is terrible news. Hatem gives us the X-factor and will be a big miss."

Ben Arfa had been out of action for 12 weeks and only returned in the Europa League tie against Anzhi.

His Newcastle career has been blighted by injuries and despite being one of the most talented players in the squad has been unable to demonstrate it on a regular basis.

Ben Arfa has featured in just 13 Premier League games this season, half the amount he played in the last campaign when he helped the club achieve a fifth placed finish.

The midfielder will be a big miss for Newcastle as they attempt to make certain of their Premier League status and win their first piece of silverware since the Fairs Cup triumph back in 1969.

Newcastle progressed to the quarter-finals of the Europa League after Papiss Cisse secured a 1-0 over Anzhi and they will now play Benfica for a place in the last four.

The Portuguese club will provide a stern test but Pardew is confident his side can progress and is pleased that the second leg will be in front of home fans at St. James Park.

"I'm really pleased with the draw - the second leg is at home, which is a slight advantage," Pardew told the Shields Gazette.

"They're top of the league and going well. Benfica have a fantastic history. Portugal is accessible for our fans, and Lisbon's a fantastic city."