BARCELONA

Hleb: "I must have been mad to leave Arsenal for Barcelona"

The Belarussian forward confessed that on reflection, he should have stayed at Arsenal "where I was happy and playing for a great side".

Hleb: "I must have been mad to leave Arsenal for Barcelona"
ALBERT GEA REUTERS

It's all very clear now for Alexander Hleb - what was he thinking when he left Arsenal to join Barcelona? The Belarussian has recognised his mistake in an interview for podcast In Lockdown, where he spoke about his decision to accept an offer from the Catalan club "Many years later and I still think about it. I don't understand. To this day I still don't understand what happened or why I made the decision. Of course, Barcelona in that moment was the best team in the world but I was really happy at Arsenal at the time. I had friends, I enjoyed the coach, I was playing for one of the best teams, the fans, the stadium, everything! The fantastic championship, the Premier League, everything! Why I left, I don't understand. Barca, of course, were the best team at the time and everybody wants something to try but really I was 100 per cent happy at Arsenal".

  • Midfielder
  • Belarus

Hleb added that he found it especially difficult to break the news to Gunners manager Arsène Wenger: "I cried when I talked to Arsène. We talked in the holiday before I left and he told me he wanted to keep me and I was important. I cried. I didn't know what to do in that moment".

Of course it is all in the past now and Hleb recognises that it was a personal decision which he made and nothing to do with Barcelona: "Barca is a fantastic team. I won titles and everything but I didn't play as much as I did at Arsenal. This is only my mistake because at the time, a lot of things happened in my private life. I started very nervously - that was only my mistake. It was my mistake, no one else's. It wasn't a situation where Guardiola didn't trust me or anything like that. At Arsenal I was happy, you know... When you're happy in the team, you need to stay".