Football

Alexander Hleb.

What's just happened to ex-Arsenal player Alexander Hleb's career is pretty crazy

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Ask a group of true Arsenal fans to name the most underrated player they've had during the Premier League era and Alexander Hleb will inevitably be mentioned.

Signed in 2005 for around £12 million, Hleb was a very unique player that wasn't overly fast yet glided across the pitch and was able to dribble past opponents with ease.

He only lasted three years in north London, joining Barcelona in 2008 for the same price, and earlier this year the 36-year-old explained how he still regrets leaving.

"It's still tough for me to explain why I left Arsenal," said Hleb. "I was absolutely happy there. Arsene [Wenger] completely trusted me, it was idyllic. And then I decided to leave.

"I was on vacation and agents and managers convinced me that I had to go to Barcelona. To be honest, I didn't really understand what I was doing.

"At some point, I realised, 'Oh god! I'm leaving Arsenal!' When Arsene said that it was a matter of hours, I felt devastated.

"It was really hard for me to accept that. Wenger did everything to make me stay at Arsenal. He even texted me as I was fishing. 'Alex, I won't let you go, we need you here.' I cried when I read it."

HLEB: THE JOURNEYMAN FOOTBALLER

Hleb was only 26 years old when he decided to swap Arsenal for Barcelona - he was about to enter his prime - so it's no wonder he regrets the move judging by how his career panned out.

In four years in Catalonia, the Belarusian only made a handful of appearances and was shipped out on loan three times.

He did, however, bag La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League winners' medals in his debut season at the club, which isn't bad going.

Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League

Hleb's contract with Barca was terminated by mutual consent in January 2012 and since then he's completed nine(!) transfers, averaging one every 0.6 years.

And what's happened to him now, aged 36, is nothing short of staggering. According to the Daily Mail, Hleb has just joined childhood club BATE Borisov for the FIFTH time in his senior career.

PFC CSKA Moscow v FC Krylia Sovetov Samara - Russian Premier League

We're pretty sure that's never happened in football before.

Hleb first joined the Belarusian club in 1999, spending one year there, before further one-year spells in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

And now he's back for one last hurrah to see out the remaining days of his career. Hleb said: "This season will be the final for me in my career.

"I really want to finish it on a beautiful note: to win national trophies with BATE, get into the group stage of the Champions League and help the team."

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Topics:
Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Alexander Hleb
Arsenal
Football

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