Alexander Hleb has once again admitted that he doesn’t really know why he ever decided to leave Arsenal, and everything afterwards was a mistake.
In what is becoming a fairly regular occurrence, Hleb told the media this week of his regrets leaving Arsenal for Barcelona and everything that came afterwards. Hleb’s current club BATE Borisov took on Chelsea on Thursday, though they slipped to a 3-1 defeat to the English club.
Now 37, Hleb admits he wishes he spent more time in the Premier League.
“Arsenal was fantastic, the greatest time of my life,” he said. “I love the club, the coaches, my friends. Unbelievable. Everything was a dream. It’s difficult to say why I left.
“Have I fulfilled my potential? No, I made a lot of mistakes. That’s why I am not 100 per cent happy with my career. Going to Barca was a tough call, but after that everything was a mistake. I lost my best years.”
“I enjoyed my life [with Arsenal], woke up with a smile, went to training and loved it. Cesc, [Mathieu] Flamini, [Tomas] Rosicky and Robin [van Persie] were my best friends. We were like brothers. We enjoyed each other’s company and knew automatically where each other would be on the pitch.”
Instead of remaining in that dream environment, Hleb joined Barcelona and struggled to rediscover his form. He went on loans to VfB Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg before leaving for Russian side PFC Krylia Sovetov Samara. Since then he’s moved to a number of different clubs, but none have satisfied him as Arsenal did.
The midfielder still follows how his former club are doing, and he gave an emphatically positive response when asked if Arsenal have any chance of challenging for the title.
“Of course,” he answered. “They start not good, but now like a rocket, they go up.”
Most (sensible) fans are keeping their feet on the ground, for now. Unai Emery’s side might have put together 11 wins in their last 11 games, but one run of form isn’t enough to win trophies. You need to show you can keep your nerve when things start to go wrong, as they always do at some point. Let’s hope the team can do so.