Alexander Hleb reveals he broke down in tears after leaving Arsenal and talking to Wenger and regrets Barcelona transfer

EX-ARSENAL star Alexander Hleb cried when he spoke to Arsene Wenger before leaving for Barcelona.

The Belarusian midfielder also regrets his 2008 Nou Camp switch and 'doesn't understand' why he left.

Hleb was a huge favourite with Gooners during his three year stay from 2005-08.

He joined Arsenal from Stuttgart in 2005, played 130 times for the club and reached the Champions League final in 2006.

He would go on to win the Champions League, LaLiga and the Copa del Rey in his first season with Barcelona, but the 39-year-old still questions his decision to leave North London.

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He told Arsenal's In Lockdown podcast: "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.

"I cried when I talked to Arsene [Wenger]. 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."


While Hleb would win the treble with Barcelona in that first year, he hardly played and would then depart on various loans before eventually leaving permanently in 2012.

He went on: "Of course, 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 [at Barcelona].

"Before I was always aggressive. It was only my mistake.

"This is not a situation where Guardiola didn't trust me or something like that. No, this is only my mistake.

"At Arsenal I was happy, you know? When you're happy in the team, you need to stay.

“Of course [I still think about my career]. When you're young you think you have so many years but it's really like one moment.

"It's really quick. My children now ask me about [my career] and you explain your emotions and it's nice, it's very nice.”

In March, Hleb revealed his time at Arsenal was the happiest of his career and Wenger had the biggest impact on him of any manager.

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