One of Arsenal’s former players has further explained his decision to leave the Emirates stadium, eight years after the move.
Alexander Hleb was an integral part of the Arsenal team which nearly won the Premier League title during the 2007/08 season as Manchester United were crowned champions after Eduardo da Silva’s traumatic leg injury.
The Belarusian star decided to follow Mathieu Flamini out of the door after that season, joining Pep Guardiola’s new guard at Barcelona.
According to the 35-year-old, the transfer – which he now regrets – had to happen because the Gunners were a level below the La Liga giants.
“Part of me regrets not staying at Arsenal – Wenger was like a father to me and he trusted me,” Hleb told Reuters
“It saddens me to think about it, but at the same time, Barcelona was – and is – the bigger club. I didn’t play as much, but I did play a bit.”
“I was at the peak of my abilities in London and living some of the best moments of my career,” he explained.
“In my first season we reached the Champions League final, which we lost. But I remember it a lot more than the final that I actually won with Barcelona in 2009.
“I don’t blame Guardiola – I should have been more professional. If I hadn’t taken that bad decision I could have
played at the top for another five years.”