Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb has admitted that he has regrets over the leaving the North London side to join Barcelona in 2008.

The 35-year-old is still playing for Belarus but his three years in the Premier League were arguably the highlight of his career as he dazzled English crowds with his creativity and range of passing.

Barcelona swooped to raid the Emirates Stadium outfit for the playmaker soon after but four years on the Camp Nou side’s books were a frustration for Hleb.

A total of only 19 La Liga games and loan stints elsewhere saw the eastern European’s time at the Blaugrana as a failure, before he left in 2012 to return to his homeland.

Hleb has confessed that he had a close relationship with Arsene Wenger and now looks back on his decision to move to Spain with some remorse.

“On the one hand I regret that I did not stay at Arsenal. Wenger was like a father to me and trusted me,” he told Reuters.

“I get sad when I start to think about this. On the other hand, Barcelona was and still is the strongest club. I did not play that often, but I still got game time.”

Hleb is one of a host of players that has left Arsenal to move to Barcelona, including Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song.


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