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Name Alexander Hleb
Gender Male
Ethnic Belarusian
Job Belarusian Footballer

Affiliation

Org Belarusia National Team
Club as Player Krylia Sovetov Samara
  Glenclerbirligi
  BATE Borisov
  Stuttgart FC [loan]
  Barcelona FC
  Arsenal FC
  Stuttgart FC

2009 07 24 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb may hold up Samuel Eto’o’s Inter deal] I have a contract with Barcelona and am currently preparing for the new season with the team. My aim is to make the breakthrough here and be successful with this club

2017 05 31 Retrieve

[Alexander Hleb on his time at Stuttgart FC] It was more difficult to settle in my first year at Stuttgart than at any other point in my life. My brother came with me to play for their youth team and lived with me. If he wasn’t with me, I would have gone back to Belarus. At times, I cried. Psychologically, it was so hard, but together we made it easier for each other

[Alexander Hleb regards Arsenal FC as his favourite phase of a life in football] Arsenal was the best time in my career. I was absolutely, 100% happy. I had an unbelievable coach, fantastic friends and amazing team-mates. It was a dream come true

Wenger always supports his players. He feels what young players think. He doesn’t need to come to you and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ because he already knows. People criticise him, but he’s fantastic. Arsene is Arsenal. Everyone associates the club with Wenger. We all want titles, but every club goes through difficult periods

[Hleb feels that Wenger – whose two-year contract became apparent soon after this interview – deserves at least another full 12 months in the role] I would not touch Wenger until next year. Give him until the end of next season. He can create another title-winning team, I am sure of it. It’s easy to criticise from the sidelines but I don’t see another manager coming to Arsenal and keeping the identity, the beautiful football, which Arsene has brought to the club

[Hleb has answered the question about leaving north London many times. Interestingly, he looks back on the situation with as much regret as the Arsenal fans who were sorry to lose him in 2008] People always ask me why I departed but it’s hard to explain. I don’t know why. I also ask myself why I left

[Despite new manager Pep Guardiola found a winning formula that enabled Barcelona to go on and win a historic treble, Hleb was disillusioned by his lack of opportunities as he played a bit-part role in Barça’s triumphs that season. With brutal honesty, however, he now adopts a different outlook on the situation] Of course I wanted to play every game. Guardiola tried to speak to me about the lack of chances I was getting, saying that there were so many talented players and that he was trying to give everyone an opportunity. At the time, I had problems in my private life, which affected me badly. I didn’t want to listen to him

He tried to give me advice on how to integrate, suggesting I should take Spanish lessons so I could properly communicate with the team. At the time, I thought he was the problem and couldn’t see it from a different point of view. But now I can say that it was me. I was the problem. If I’d done everything Guardiola asked of me, I would have played more and enjoyed my time at the club.

[In the hope of finding a route back to the Premier League, he joined Birmingham on loan in 2010. It’s a move he now admits was the wrong one] Birmingham was a mistake. I don’t mean that negatively towards them, because they are a historic English team; a great club. At the time, I was used to playing in teams which played good football and at Birmingham, their style was to play physically, to use long balls. It just didn’t suit me

[Towards the end of the loan, Hleb himself hinted at an Arsenal return] I did speak to my agent about a move back to Arsenal, but he told me that it would be impossible because they’d bought two or three new midfielders

[Although he didn’t get to don the club’s colours again, he still watches the club as a fan] I do watch Arsenal, I support them. They are my team

The contract situation [with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil] can affect the whole group, of course. We’re not talking about tennis, where you only need to think about yourself. Everybody must be together and when there are rumours that players want to leave, it transmits to their team-mates

We had it [at Arsenal] with Thierry Henry, our best player, similar to Sanchez now. When he moved to Barcelona, everyone thought we were finished, but football moves on. If Alexis Sanchez does decide to leave, someone will replace him and Arsenal will move forward

[He speaks of his current home with great enthusiasm, and urges people not to avoid visiting Russia for next year’s World Cup] The Russian people are fantastic, they love football … nobody should be afraid of coming to Russia. Mutual respect is key, and if people respect the Russians, they will respect you too. Everybody just wants to enjoy the World Cup, and a country like this hosting such a big event will be amazing

I love football and experiencing new leagues. I still feel fresh, and I don’t feel tired of football either. I’m not sure what my next move will be, I haven’t considered it yet. I became a dad in December so there’s more focus on family now. I want to go on holiday with them and think, as a family, to decide. Maybe I’ll play one more year, maybe not. I studied a law degree for four years at the Academy of Public Administration. It’s something I could go into after football, I’m not sure. I learnt a lot, though, and thoroughly enjoyed it

2020 03 23 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal star Alexander Hleb slams chiefs over coronavirus decision] The coronavirus has closed the Champions League and the Europa League. This is good, because you have to try and stop it. Uefa have done the right thing. But in Belarus, it’s like no one cares. It’s incredible. Maybe in one week or two weeks we will stop here. Maybe our President is just waiting to see what happens with the virus.

Everybody here knows what’s happened to Italy and Spain. It doesn’t look good. But in our country, people in the presidential administration believe it’s not as extreme as the news says. A lot of young people and students here think like this. I’m keeping at home with my family. But when I go out, the streets and restaurants are still busy

Everybody’s been training as normal, getting ready for the new season. They just don’t care. I care about my health and my family. I’m keeping to minimum contact. I won’t be going to Isloch. It’s very difficult to explain our country. All leagues have closed but we don’t seem to think it’s a problem. Why? I don’t know

2020 03 25 Retrieve

[Alexander Hleb on being managed by Arsene Wenger and being an idiot to Pep Guardiola] Arsenal was the happiest stage of my life. Working with (Arsene) Wenger is the best thing that could have happened. He appreciated and supported each player individually. He got the best out of every player

[But the Belarusian struggled to get minutes under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, admitting he was a bit foolish at times] It was entirely my fault, not Guardiola 9484afd5836d307b314a404d745a9a68. He did everything possible for me to help me adapt to the country and the club quickly and to learn the language. I acted like an idiot. The group was really good. I had a great career. I made a few mistakes but I keep the good memories from all the clubs