?Arsene Wenger has offered an explanation as to why Alex Hleb’s career went downhill after he left Arsenal in 2008.

The unattached 36-year-old, who has had four separate stints with the Gunners’ Europa League matchday two opponents BATE Borisov, represented the club for three seasons between 2005-08, before leaving to join Barcelona – a move that Wenger said he could understand.

Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers

The Belarusian star failed to excel at the Nou Camp in the way people had hoped, and found life tough competing with a young Lionel Messi amongst others.

On the eve of the Gunners’ match with BATE, Wenger spoke a bit about the man he signed from Stuttgart. He said via the ?club’s official website: “I would say at the time when he left for Barcelona, they were the best team in the world by a distance.

“You can understand that he was tempted to do it. It was not the right decision for him because he didn’t have the career after and I think it had a negative impact on his career.

“He was a great, great player but he played on the same side as Lionel Messi. That is nearly an impossible task for every player in the world.


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