It’s often the case that you can pinpoint the exact moment which ruined a promising career, and for Alexander Hleb that point came when he decided to leave Arsenal for Barcelona.
He was a first team regular at Arsenal when they were still seen as challengers in the league and they even reached the final of the Champions League, but he took the chance to move to Spain in 2008.
He spent four years at Barca but only played during his first season, before loan spells at Birmingham, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Krylia Sovetov, before finally getting released and going back to BATE Borisov.
He spent the rest of his career getting moves that didn’t work out before returning to BATE, and it looks like he truly regrets that decision to move on from Arsenal.
Mundo Deportivo picked up on some of his comments from a recent Arsenal podcast, and it makes you wonder if things could’ve been different for him if he did stay:
“I still think about it and I don’t understand it. To this day I still don’t understand what happened or why I made that decision. At the time FC Barcelona was the best club in the world, but I was very happy at Arsenal.”
“I had friends, I enjoyed the coach, I played for a great team… everything! I don’t understand why I left, I was 100% happy at Arsenal”
It suggests that he was either poorly advised or decided to move for the money, but it’s clear that his career didn’t recover after that moment.