Alexander Hleb

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This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Paulavich and the family name is Hleb.
Alexander Hleb
Alexander Hleb press.jpeg
Hleb with Konyaspor in 2014
Personal information
Full name Aliaksandr Paulavich Hleb[1]
Date of birth (1981-05-01) 1 May 1981 (age 33)
Place of birth Minsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[2]
Playing position Attacking midfielder / Winger
Club information
Current team
Konyaspor
Number 10
Youth career
1997–1998 Dinamo-Juni Minsk
1998–1999 BATE Borisov
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2000 BATE Borisov 25 (4)
2000–2001 VfB Stuttgart II 17 (1)
2000–2005 VfB Stuttgart 137 (13)
2005–2008 Arsenal 89 (7)
2008–2012 Barcelona 19 (0)
2009–2010 VfB Stuttgart (loan) 27 (0)
2010–2011 Birmingham City (loan) 19 (1)
2011 VfL Wolfsburg (loan) 4 (1)
2012 Krylia Sovetov Samara 8 (0)
2012–2013 BATE Borisov 29 (3)
2014– Konyaspor 21 (2)
National team
2000–2004 Belarus U21 24 (5)
2001– Belarus 66 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21 May 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19 November 2014

Aliaksandr Paulavich Hleb (Belarusian: Аляксандр Паўлавіч Глеб, pronounced [alʲaˈksandar ɣlʲeb]; Александр Павлович Глеб; born 1 May 1981) commonly referred to in English as Alexander Hleb,[3] is a Belarusian professional footballer who plays for Turkish club Konyaspor.

His natural and preferred position is attacking midfielder or 'in the hole' behind the strikers, but he is often deployed on the wing. A full international for Belarus since 2001, he has won over 60 caps for his country.

Early life[edit]

Hleb grew up in Minsk. His mother was a builder, while his father drove petrol tankers. His father had volunteered to help knock down uninhabitable houses in Ukraine as the result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hleb believes this exposure to radiation caused his father's ill health. Before getting involved with football, Hleb was a keen swimmer and gymnast.[4] His younger brother Vyacheslav is also a footballer.

Club career[edit]

Hleb developed playing football on the concrete pitches of Dinamo Minsk school. At the age of 17, he signed for BATE Borisov, a Belarusian Premier League team from Borisov.

Stuttgart[edit]

Spotted by scouts, Alexander and his younger brother Vyacheslav were signed in 2000 by German Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart for approximately 150,000.[5] He made his Bundesliga debut on 5 September 2000 in an away match at Kaiserslautern, coming on as a substitute for the last 20 minutes.[6] Despite only making six league appearances in his first season with Stuttgart, Hleb became a regular at the club in his second season there and went on to establish himself as an important player for the team.

In 2002–03, Stuttgart finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga and enjoyed a Champions League victory over Manchester United and Hleb had become established as the team's playmaker. However, after team manager Felix Magath left to join Bayern Munich in the summer of 2004, Stuttgart were not as successful under new coach Matthias Sammer, having finished the 2004–05 season in fifth place.[7] Nevertheless, Hleb was on top of the assist chart in his last season in the Bundesliga.

Arsenal[edit]

Hleb playing for Arsenal.

In June 2005, Hleb joined English side Arsenal for a sum which may reach €15 million, on a four-year contract.[8] Arsène Wenger used Hleb at many different midfield positions, but he mainly played on the right wing for Arsenal. His competitive debut was made in August 2005, away to Chelsea. Soon after, Hleb sustained a knee injury while on international duty with Belarus and was out for several months, returning to the first team squad in December, and played 60 minutes in Arsenal's final UEFA Champions League group stage match against AFC Ajax on 7 December. By January 2006, Hleb had established himself as a first choice player and scored his first goal for Arsenal in a 7–0 win over Middlesbrough. In May, Hleb became the first ever Belarusian footballer to play in the Champions League Final.[citation needed] He ended the season with 40 appearances and three goals.

Despite a hamstring injury, Hleb made 48 appearances in the 2006–07 season and scored three goals. In 2007–08, he was moved from the right wing and played behind Robin van Persie as a withdrawn striker. When strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo recovered from injuries Arsène Wenger reverted to a 4–4–2 formation and Hleb returned to playing on the wing. His season was cut short after he was banned for three games by the FA after he was charged with violent conduct in an incident with Graeme Murty of Reading during their 2–0 win. Hleb admitted his offence, ending his season.

Hleb was always a popular figure at Arsenal, and the fans reciprocated the effort he brought to the team by inventing a song to the tune of Johnnie Allan's Rubber Dolly, "Alexander Hleb, Alexander Hleb, He's good at football, Alexander Hleb".

Barcelona[edit]

On 16 July 2008, a medical examination was held for the player at FC Barcelona, with his transfer completed later that day for a fee of €15 million plus an additional €2 million if Barcelona won the La Liga title in 2008–09 or 2009–10 (which they did in 2008–09, bringing his total fee to €17 million). Hleb signed a four-year contract, with a buy-out clause of €90 million.[9]

In March 2009, after featuring irregularly for the team — starting only five games in La Liga — he admitted that he would readily accept an offer from German Bundesliga team Bayern Munich, if such an opportunity arose in the summer. He said, "I am right in the best years of my career and I do not want to spend those years on bench. Bayern Munich is a special club, their interest in me is a delightful honour. Bayern is among the best teams in the world."[10]

Hleb went on to win the 2008–09 Treble with Barcelona in his first season with the club. Hleb featured briefly in the Copa del Rey final but did not play when Barcelona went on to beat Manchester United 2–0 in the UEFA Champions League final.

At the end of the season, he turned down the opportunity to join, on loan, eventual 2009–10 Treble winners Internazionale, and chose to join former club, VfB Stuttgart, on loan.

In July 2009, Hleb returned to VfB Stuttgart on a one-year loan.[11][12][13][14] Hleb played 55 minutes in the first game of the 2009–10 Bundesliga season, away to Wolfsburg, a match which Stuttgart lost 2–0. Then, after playing in Stuttgart's 4–2 victory over SC Freiburg, Hleb scored his first goal for Stuttgart, during a Champions League qualifier against FC Timişoara, in a 2–0 away win for the German side.

Hleb with Birmingham in 2010 playing against his former club Arsenal.

On 31 August 2010, Hleb returned to England by signing a season-long loan deal with Premier League club Birmingham City.[15] An ankle injury sustained on international duty delayed his debut until 18 September, when he played 83 minutes in a 3–1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.[16][17] Three days later he opened the scoring as Birmingham beat MK Dons 3–1 in the League Cup.[18] Injury disrupted his season, forcing him to miss Birmingham's victory over Arsenal in the League Cup Final. Towards the end of the season he ruled out a return to the club once his loan expired, suggesting that their style of football was not to his taste, although he wanted to remain in the Premier League, ideally at Arsenal.[19][20]

On 31 August 2011, Hleb was loaned out to VfL Wolfsburg.[21] Again, injury disrupted his stay at Wolfsburg, making only one start and three appearances as a substitute.[22] The club confirmed he would leave at the scheduled end of the loan on 31 December 2011.[23]

Krylia Sovetov Samara[edit]

After Hleb's contract with Barcelona was cancelled by mutual consent during the January 2012 transfer window,[24] he signed for Russian Premier League club Krylia Sovetov Samara until the end of the season.[25]

Return to BATE Borisov[edit]

On 26 July 2012, Hleb signed a contract with BATE Borisov and won the 2012 Belarusian Premier League in his return season. Hleb stated before BATE's 3–1 win against Bayern Munich that he expected the great performances of his team in the UEFA Champions League could help him to earn a move abroad, with the player wanting a move to a Bundesliga club.[26] However, he remained playing for BATE in the 2013 season.

Konyaspor[edit]

On 4 January 2014, Hleb signed a contract with Torku Konyaspor in the Turkish Super League for one-and-a-half years, with an option to extend the contract for an additional year.[27]

International career[edit]

Hleb won over 20 caps for the Belarus U21 side. He made his full international debut as a substitute in a 1–0 defeat against Wales in 2001. He scored on his second international start in a 5–2 victory over Hungary in April 2002. In November 2006, former Belarusian captain Sergei Gurenko launched a vicious criticism on Hleb for not working hard in national team settings. However, Hleb rejected any suggestion that he was a prima donna.[28] In August 2007, new national team manager Bernd Stange made him a team captain despite the criticism. On 22 August, Hleb wore the captain's armband for the first time in a 2–1 win against Israel.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Hleb was called "Zauberlehrling" or "Sorcerer's Apprentice" for his silky skills and dazzling tricks in Germany when he played in the Bundesliga.[29]

Personal life[edit]

While playing for Arsenal, Hleb lived in Hampstead, North London.[30] In 2003, he was involved in a car crash in Minsk. A passenger in the other car later died.[31] His brother Vyacheslav is also a footballer who last played for Belarussian team, FC Gomel. Hleb was married to Anastasia Kosenkova, an ex-singer of the Belarusian pop group 'Topless'. Their wedding took place the summer of 2008.[32] Hleb claims the biggest regret of his life was leaving Arsenal for Barcelona in an interview.

Career statistics[edit]

As of 5 April 2012[33][34][35]
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Belarus League Belarusian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1998 Dinamo-Juni Minsk First League 11 1 11 1
1999 BATE Borisov Premier League 13 1 13 1
2000 12 3 12 3
Germany League DFB-Pokal DFB Ligapokal Europe Total
2000–01 Stuttgart Bundesliga 6 0 2 0 - 1 0 9 0
2001–02 32 2 3 0 - - 35 2
2002–03 34 4 2 1 - 8 3 44 8
2003–04 31 5 3 0 - 8 0 42 5
2004–05 34 2 3 2 - 8 0 45 4
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2005–06 Arsenal Premier League 25 3 1 0 3 0 10 0 39 3
2006–07 33 2 3 0 2 0 10 1 48 3
2007–08 31 2 2 0 1 0 8 2 42 4
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
2008–09 Barcelona La Liga 19 0 8 0 - 9 0 36 0
Germany League DFB-Pokal DFB Ligapokal Europe Total
2009–10 Stuttgart Bundesliga 27 0 1 0 - 8 1 36 1
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2010–11 Birmingham City Premier League 19 1 0 0 1 1 - 20 2
Germany League DFB-Pokal DFB Ligapokal Europe Total
2011–12 VfL Wolfsburg Bundesliga 4 1 0 0 - 0 0 4 1
Russia League Russian Cup Premier League Cup Europe Total
2011–12 Krylia Sovetov Premier League 8 0 0 0 - - 8 0
Belarus League Belarusian Cup Belarusian Cup Europe Total
2012 BATE Borisov Premier League 22 3 0 0 - 6 0 28 3
Turkey League Turkish Cup Super League Cup Europe Total
2013–14 Konyaspor Süper Lig 16 2 0 0 - - 16 2
2014–15 0 0 0 0 - 0 0 0 0
Country Belarus 36 5 36 5
Germany 168 14 14 3 - 33 4 215 21
England 108 8 6 0 7 1 28 3 149 12
Spain 19 0 8 0 - 9 0 36 0
Russia 8 0 0 0 - 0 0 8 0
Belarus 22 3 0 0 - 6 0 28 3
Turkey 16 2 0 0 - 0 0 16 2
Total 379 32 28 3 7 1 76 7 490 43
Belarus national team
Year Apps Goals
2001 1 0
2002 7 2
2003 3 0
2004 2 0
2005 8 1
2006 7 1
2007 10 0
2008 6 0
2009 5 1
2010 4 2
Total 53 6

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 17 April 2002 Stadion Oláh Gábor Út, Debrecen, Hungary  Hungary 1 – 1 5–2 Friendly
2 19 May 2002 Dynamo Stadium (Moscow) (1928), Russia  Russia 2 – 0 2–0 LG Cup
3 9 February 2005 Dyskobolia Stadium, Grodzisk Wielkopolski, Poland  Poland 1 – 0 3–1 Friendly
4 16 August 2006 Dynama Stadium (Minsk), Belarus  Andorra 1 – 0 3–0 Friendly
5 1 April 2009 Almaty Central Stadium, Almaty, Kazakhstan  Kazakhstan 1 – 1 5–1 World Cup 2010 qualifier
6 3 March 2010 Antalya Atatürk Stadium, Antalya, Turkey  Armenia 2 – 1 3–1 Friendly

Honours[edit]

Arsenal

Runner-up

BATE Borisov
VfB Stuttgart
Barcelona
Birmingham City
Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matthews, Tony, ed. (2012). The Birmingham City Miscellany. Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 978-0752463438. 
  2. ^ "Alexander Paulavic Hleb". FC Barcelona. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Gleb wins Belarus gong". UEFA.com. 31 December 2002. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Aleks Hleb on Futbol Mundial". arsenalist.tistory.com. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Aliaksandr Hleb profile on MasterCard UEFA Champions League". MasterCard. Retrieved 18 July 2006. [dead link]
  6. ^ "2000–01 player stats" (in German). Weltfussball.de. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2008. 
  7. ^ "2004–05 Bundesliga table" (in German). Weltfussball.de. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2008. 
  8. ^ "International Midfielder Agrees To Join Arsenal". plusmarketsgroup.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2007. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Hleb signs four-year deal". FCBarcelona.cat. 16 July 2008. Archived from the original on 4 August 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2008. 
  10. ^ Zocher, Thomas (5 March 2009). "Hleb honoured by Bayern link". Sky Sports. Retrieved 16 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Hleb vor Wechsel zum VfB Stuttgart" (in German). sportbild.de. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Hleb, cedit a l'Stuttgart" [Hleb on loan to Stuttgart] (in Catalan). FCBarcelona.cat. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Hleb returns to VfB". vfb.de. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009. [dead link]
  14. ^ Pearce, Nick (30 July 2009). "Alexander Hleb joins Stuttgart on season-long loan from Barcelona". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  15. ^ "Blues Land Hleb". Birmingham City F.C. 31 August 2010. Archived from the original on 3 September 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "Alexander Hleb relishing challenge at Birmingham City". BBC Sport. 11 September 2010. Archived from the original on 14 September 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  17. ^ Ashenden, Mark (18 September 2010). "West Brom 3–1 Birmingham". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  18. ^ "Birmingham 3–1 MK Dons". BBC Sport. 22 September 2010. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  19. ^ Tattum, Colin (18 April 2011). "Aleksandr Hleb rules out return to Birmingham City". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  20. ^ James, Stuart (20 April 2011). "'Birmingham can play football,' Alex McLeish tells Alexander Hleb". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  21. ^ "Hleb to Wolfsburg on loan". FC Barcelona. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "Wolfsburg opt against extending injury-hit Alexander Hleb's loan". The Guardian (London). 13 December 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  23. ^ "Wolfsburg will not extend Hleb deal". FIFA. Press Association. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "Acuerdo para la desvinculación de Hleb" [Agreement for Hleb's release]. FC Barcelona. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  25. ^ "Ex-Barça Star Hleb Joins Russian Side Krylya Sovietov". RIA Novosti. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  26. ^ Chambers, Miles. "BATE's Hleb eyes Bayern shock". Goal.com. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  27. ^ http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/spor/futbol/25503464.asp
  28. ^ Jackson, Phil. "Ex-Belarus captain blasts Hleb". SkySports. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  29. ^ Harrold, Michael (15 March 2010). "Hleb plots happy return to Camp Nou". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  30. ^ Kessel, Anna (26 March 2006). "Playboy from Minsk making capital gains". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 18 July 2006. 
  31. ^ Sheehan, Pat (29 June 2005). "Hleb death smash hell". London: The Sun Online. Retrieved 18 July 2006. 
  32. ^ "Hleb's girl is a Topless stunner". London: The Sun Online. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  33. ^ Alexander Hleb at National-Football-Teams.com
  34. ^ "Alexander Hleb". Birmingham City FC. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  35. ^ "A. Hleb: Summary". Soccerway. Global Sports Media. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 

External links[edit]