Hleb: Everything that happened at Barcelona was my fault
The midfielder admitted his attitude held him back during his spell at Camp Nou
Former Barcelona and Arsenal player, among other teams, Alexander Hleb has given an interview to Sportskeeda in which he's spoke about his past at Camp Nou, where he didn't succeed.
As has happened before, Hleb admotted that his time at Barça was a failure, although this time he took on some of the responsibility.
Despite things going badly from day one, though, Hleb doesn't think it was a mistake to link up with Pep Guardiola's side: "I had to move to Barcelona. They were the number one team in the world at that time and you just cannot refuse such offers. Otherwise, I would regret dropping a chance to play for the best club in the world. I think that this was the right choice."
The versatile Belarus international, who was one of Guardiola's biggest bets, explained that Arsene Wenger "is a great coach and he trusted me. At Arsenal, I felt at home, really comfortable."
Things weren't as good at Barcelona, though. "It was a bit different," Hleb remembers. "But anyway I think moving to Spain was the right decision. When I was moving to Barca I had also an offer from Bayern and I was ready to go there. But there was a two-day pause and Barcelona were just more persistent."
Now playing for BATE Borison, he also revealed that when he was at Stuttgart he was contacted by Chelsea and Liverpool and that when he was at Barça there was talks with Manchester City.
But perhaps the biggest new line from the Hleb interview is that he took the blame for what happened in Catalonia. "I had everything to develop and play regularly. Everything that happened is purely my fault. I took things too easily, my character prevented me from progressing. Instead of working hard I was too often grudging at the coach's decisions," he said.
He also joked about the current Barça being worse than the one in previous years. He said: "I am not in the team anymore and this is the result (smiles). But jokes aside, I think Barcelona used to have stronger players in the past."
Finally, the eternal debate. Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? There are no doubts for Hleb: "I am sure Messi is the most gifted and the best player in the world. I do not have a single doubt about that. Cristiano Ronaldo is a great player, but he is not Messi."