Alexander Hleb explains where things went wrong for him after leaving Arsenal

The Belarus international swapped Arsenal for Barcelona in July 2008, but it proved to be a disastrous decision for the winger

Alexander Hleb has been speaking to Catalunya Radio in frank terms about where things went wrong for him after he left Arsenal for Barcelona.

The Belarusian midfielder arrived at the Emirates from Stuttgart in 2005 and went on to enjoy some notable success with the Gunners during a three-year stay with the club.

Part of the Arsenal side beaten by Barcelona in the Champions League final in 2006, Hleb would move to the Nou Camp two years later following the appointment of Pep Guardiola as manager of the Catalan club.

However, it was Hleb’s frayed relationship with the Spanish coach that would ultimately prove to be his downfall at Barca.

Speaking in an interview with Catalunya Radio, which was republished by, the winger revealed where things really went wrong for him in La Liga.

“I was always fighting with Guardiola,” he explained.

“I didn’t used to listen to him, he would say to take Spanish classes to integrate myself into the team, but I wouldn’t do them.”

Hleb made a total of 36 appearances for Barca during his troubled spell in Spain, with only 19 of these coming in La Liga.

His poor relationship with Guardiola also resulted in a series of loan spells over the coming years, with Hleb spending time with Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg.

“[Pep and I] would shout at each other. He expected one thing from me and I would’t do it and the way with which I would say ‘no’ was like a child. My judgement was clouded and I ignored him,” he added.

“It was my fault I didn’t continue at Barça, it was to do with my character. I was stressed because I had problems in my private life.”

Released by Barca in the summer of 2012, Hleb spent time back in Belarus before taking in a stint in Turkey.

Now back with BATE Borisov, the 34-year-old is hoping to impress with the Belarusian giants in the Champions League with a home tie against his former club, Barcelona, set for next week.

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