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Hleb I still don't understand why I left Arsenal

Alex Hleb

On July 16, 2008, Alex Hleb left Arsenal and joined Barcelona - a move he now admits was a mistake. 

Speaking exclusively to our 'In Lockdown' podcast, our former winger explains how he came to leave north London.
 
"Many years later and I still think about it," Hleb said. "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. 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. 
 

Alex Hleb

"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]. 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.”

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