Hleb with Konyaspor in 2014
|Full name||Aliaksandr Paulavich Hleb|
|Date of birth||1 May 1981|
|Place of birth||Minsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder / Winger|
|2000–2001||VfB Stuttgart II||17||(1)|
|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)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 June 2016.
Aliaksandr Paulavich Hleb (Belarusian: Аляксандр Паўлавіч Глеб, pronounced [alʲaˈksandar ɣlʲeb]; Russian: Александр Павлович Глеб; born 1 May 1981), commonly referred to in English as Alexander Hleb, is a Belarusian professional footballer who plays for BATE Borisov.
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 70 caps for his country.
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. His younger brother Vyacheslav is also a footballer.
Spotted by scouts, Alexander and his younger brother Vyacheslav were signed in 2000 by German Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart for approximately €150,000. 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. 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, he was voted Belarusian Footballer of the Year.
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. Nevertheless, Hleb was on top of the assist chart in his last season in the Bundesliga.
In June 2005, Hleb joined English side Arsenal for a sum which may reach €15 million, on a four-year contract. 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. 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".
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.
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."
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.
In July 2009, Hleb returned to VfB Stuttgart on a one-year loan. 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.
On 31 August 2010, Hleb returned to England by signing a season-long loan deal with Premier League club Birmingham City. 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. Three days later he opened the scoring as Birmingham beat MK Dons 3–1 in the League Cup. 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.
On 31 August 2011, Hleb was loaned out to VfL Wolfsburg. Again, injury disrupted his stay at Wolfsburg, making only one start and three appearances as a substitute. The club confirmed he would leave at the scheduled end of the loan on 31 December 2011.
Krylia Sovetov Samara
After Hleb's contract with Barcelona was cancelled by mutual consent during the January 2012 transfer window, he signed for Russian Premier League club Krylia Sovetov Samara until the end of the season.
Return to BATE Borisov
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. However, he remained playing for BATE in the 2013 season.
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. 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.
Hleb was called "Zauberlehrling" or "Sorcerer's Apprentice" for his silky skills and dazzling tricks in Germany when he played in the Bundesliga.
While playing for Arsenal, Hleb lived in Hampstead, North London. In 2003, he was involved in a car crash in Minsk. A passenger in the other car later died. His brother Vyacheslav is also a footballer.
Hleb was married to Anastasia Kosenkova, an ex-singer of the Belarusian pop group 'Topless'. Their wedding took place the summer of 2008.
Hleb claims the biggest regret of his life was leaving Arsenal for Barcelona in an interview.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|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|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Copa de la Liga||Europe||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2010–11||Birmingham City||Premier League||19||1||0||0||1||1||-||20||2|
|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||6||0||0||0||-||10||0||16||0|
|2013||BATE Borisov||Premier League||23||3||0||0||-||4||0||27||3|
|Turkey||League||Turkish Cup||Super League Cup||Europe||Total|
- As of 27 May 2016
|Belarus national team|
|1||17 April 2002||Stadion Oláh Gábor Út, Debrecen, Hungary||Hungary||1 – 1||5–2||Friendly|
|2||19 May 2002||Dynamo Stadium, Moscow, Russia||Ukraine||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||Dinamo 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|
- BATE Borisov
- VfB Stuttgart
- Birmingham City
- Belarusian Footballer of the Year: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
- first ever Belarusian footballer to play in the Champions League Final (2006)
- first ever Belarusian footballer to win UEFA Champions League (2009)
- Top assists in the Bundesliga: 2004–05
- Arsenal Player of the Month: August 2005
- Member of the kicker team of the year (German Bundesliga season 2004–05)
- Matthews, Tony, ed. (2012). The Birmingham City Miscellany. Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-6343-8.
- "Alexander Paulavic Hleb". FC Barcelona. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
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- "Aliaksandr Hleb profile on MasterCard UEFA Champions League". MasterCard. Retrieved 18 July 2006.[dead link]
- "2000–01 player stats" (in German). Weltfussball.de. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2008.
- "Gleb wins Belarus gong". UEFA.com. 31 December 2002. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- "2004–05 Bundesliga table" (in German). Weltfussball.de. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2008.
- "International Midfielder Agrees To Join Arsenal". plusmarketsgroup.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2007.[dead link]
- "UEFA Champions League 2005/6 History - Barcelona/Arsenal Lineups". UEFA. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
- "Hleb signs four-year deal". FCBarcelona.cat. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2008.[dead link]
- Zocher, Thomas (5 March 2009). "Hleb honoured by Bayern link". Sky Sports. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
- "Hleb vor Wechsel zum VfB Stuttgart" (in German). sportbild.de. Archived from the original on 30 July 2009.
- "Hleb, cedit a l'Stuttgart" [Hleb on loan to Stuttgart] (in Catalan). FCBarcelona.cat. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- "Hleb returns to VfB". vfb.de. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.[dead link]
- Pearce, Nick (30 July 2009). "Alexander Hleb joins Stuttgart on season-long loan from Barcelona". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
- "Blues Land Hleb". Birmingham City F.C. 31 August 2010. Archived from the original on 3 September 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
- "Alexander Hleb relishing challenge at Birmingham City". BBC Sport. 11 September 2010. Archived from the original on 14 September 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- Ashenden, Mark (18 September 2010). "West Brom 3–1 Birmingham". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Birmingham 3–1 MK Dons". BBC Sport. 22 September 2010. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- Tattum, Colin (18 April 2011). "Aleksandr Hleb rules out return to Birmingham City". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
- James, Stuart (20 April 2011). "'Birmingham can play football,' Alex McLeish tells Alexander Hleb". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
- "Hleb to Wolfsburg on loan". FC Barcelona. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Wolfsburg opt against extending injury-hit Alexander Hleb's loan". The Guardian. London. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- "Wolfsburg will not extend Hleb deal". FIFA. Press Association. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- "Acuerdo para la desvinculación de Hleb" [Agreement for Hleb's release]. FC Barcelona. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "Ex-Barça Star Hleb Joins Russian Side Krylya Sovietov". RIA Novosti. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Chambers, Miles. "BATE's Hleb eyes Bayern shock". Goal.com. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Withnall, Adam (2 February 2015). "Alexander Hleb: Former Arsenal favourite joins Turkish club Genclerbirligi SK - Transfers - Football - The Independent". independent.co.uk. The Independent. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
- Jackson, Phil. "Ex-Belarus captain blasts Hleb". SkySports. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- Harrold, Michael (15 March 2010). "Hleb plots happy return to Camp Nou". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- Kessel, Anna (26 March 2006). "Playboy from Minsk making capital gains". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 18 July 2006.
- Sheehan, Pat (29 June 2005). "Hleb death smash hell". London: The Sun Online. Retrieved 18 July 2006.
- "Hleb's girl is a Topless stunner". London: The Sun Online. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- "Alexander Hleb reveals regret at leaving Arsène Wenger and Arsenal". London: The Guardian. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- Alexander Hleb at National-Football-Teams.com
- "Alexander Hleb". Birmingham City FC. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- "A. Hleb: Summary". Soccerway. Global Sports Media. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
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