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Aleksandr Hleb

Aliaksandr Pavlovic Hleb (, ; ; born 1 May 1981), sometimes referred to in English language as Alexander Hleb or Alexander Gleb, is a Belarusian football (soccer) who currently plays in the midfield for Fußball-Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart (on loan from La Liga club FC Barcelona) and for the Belarus national football team.

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Aleksandr Hleb biography


Aliaksandr Pavlovic Hleb (, ; ; born 1 May 1981), sometimes referred to in English language as Alexander Hleb or Alexander Gleb, is a Belarusian football (soccer) who currently plays in the midfield for Fußball-Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart (on loan from La Liga club FC Barcelona) and for the Belarus national football team.

Aleksandr Hleb natural and preferred position is attacking midfielder or 'in the hole' behind the strikers, but Aleksandr Hleb has often played as a right midfielder. While at FC Barcelona, Hleb had been playing as a Midfielder Winger.

Childhood

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

Club career

Hleb developed playing football on the concrete pitches of FC Dinamo Minsk school. At the age of 17, Aleksandr Hleb signed for FC BATE, a Belarusian Premier League team from Borisov (Belarus). The next season, they won the Championship.

Stuttgart

Spotted by scouts, Aliaksandr and Aleksandr Hleb younger brother Vyacheslav Hleb were signed in 2000 by Bundesliga (football) side VfB Stuttgart for approximately Euro150,000. Aleksandr Hleb made Aleksandr Hleb Bundesliga debut on 5 September 2000 in an away match at 1. FC Kaiserslautern, coming on as a substitute for the last 20 minutes. Despite only making six league appearances in Aleksandr Hleb first season with Stuttgart, Hleb became a regular at the club in Aleksandr Hleb second season there and went on to establish himself as one of the most important players of the side.

In 2002–03, Stuttgart finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga and enjoyed a UEFA Champions League victory over Manchester United F.C. and Hleb had become established as the team's playmaker. However, after team manager Felix Magath left to join FC 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 Aleksandr Hleb last season in the Bundesliga.

Arsenal

2005–06 season

On 28 June 2005, Hleb joined England side Arsenal F.C. for a sum which may reach €15 million; Aleksandr Hleb agreed to a 4-year contract with Arsenal. Arsène Wenger used Hleb at many different midfield positions, but Aleksandr Hleb mainly played on the right wing for Arsenal. Aleksandr Hleb scored Aleksandr Hleb first goal on Aleksandr Hleb debut against Barnet F.C. at the Underhill Stadium, in a pre-season friendly within two minutes of coming off the bench at half-time. On 21 August 2005, Aleksandr Hleb played Aleksandr Hleb first competitive match for Arsenal, away to Chelsea F.C.. However, soon after, Hleb sustained a knee injury while on international duty with Belarus and was out for several months. Finding it hard to settle, Aleksandr Hleb was linked with a move back to Germany. Aleksandr Hleb returned to the Arsenal first team squad in December, playing 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 Aleksandr Hleb first official goal for Arsenal in a 7–0 win over Middlesbrough F.C.. Hleb did not start in the next few Premier League games, but it was in the Champions League where Aleksandr Hleb showed all the potential Aleksandr Hleb had. When Aleksandr Hleb did get to start again at Arsenal Stadium, another goal was added to Aleksandr Hleb Premier League count in the win over Charlton Athletic F.C.. On 15 April, Aleksandr Hleb scored Aleksandr Hleb third goal against West Bromwich Albion F.C., giving Aleksandr Hleb team a lead right before the half-time. A month later, on 17 May, Hleb became the first ever Belarusian footballer to play in the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final. Hleb ended the season with 40 appearances and three goals.

2006–07 season

The 2006–07 in English football started well for Hleb. In the first game against NK Dinamo Zagreb (UEFA Champions League 2006–07), the Belrussian claimed two assists in a 3–0 victory. Now a regular starter, Hleb was quickly becoming an impact player in Wenger's side, and gaining respect from the fans. The "thank you supporters" came when Aleksandr Hleb scored Aleksandr Hleb fourth goal for Arsenal, and first at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium in a 2–0 win over F.C. Porto on 26 September during the group stage of the Champions League. After Thierry Henry slipped the ball to Hleb, Hleb sniped it into the far corner. A month later, Hleb scored again against Reading F.C. after playing a three pass combination with Tomáš Rosický. This was also Aleksandr Hleb first goal away from home. On 23 December, Hleb scored Arsenal's second goal against Blackburn Rovers F.C., to put Arsenal back in to the lead in a game they went on to win 6–2. Soon after, Hleb injured Aleksandr Hleb hamstring and missed some games. Hleb, however, would make a quick comeback and in three weeks Aleksandr Hleb was back on a pitch. By the end of the season, Hleb appeared in 48 matches, of which Aleksandr Hleb started 40, scoring three goals.

2007–08 season

During the pre-season, Hleb was moved from the right wing and played behind Robin van Persie in the "hole". This proved a success with Hleb looking more comfortable in this position, and more of a threat to the opposition. On 12 August, against Fulham F.C. in Arsenal's first Premier League game of the season, Hleb again played there and scored a vital goal to seal a 2–1 victory for Arsenal. Aleksandr Hleb followed that up in the next game with another goal in a Champions League 3rd qualifying round first-leg game against Sparta Prague in Prague, the game ending 2–0 to Arsenal. Both of Aleksandr Hleb goals were scored in the 90th minute. When strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo da Silva recovered from injuries, however, Arsène Wenger went back to Aleksandr Hleb favourite 4–4–2 formation and Hleb returned playing on flanks. But even there, Aleksandr Hleb remained one of Arsenal's most noticeable playmakers, highlighting games with Aleksandr Hleb ball control and passing. In Arsenal's third Barclays league game versus then perfect record Manchester City F.C., Aleksandr Hleb once again helped Arsenal win late in the game when Aleksandr Hleb dribbled brilliantly into the penalty box past 2 defenders and assisted Cesc Fàbregas in scoring the winning goal, ending Kasper Schmeichel's record of more than 350 minutes of football without conceding a goal since the start of the season. On 23 October in the Champions League group 7–0 win over Slavia Prague, Alex played Aleksandr Hleb best game so far in the season. Aleksandr Hleb was involved in five of the six goals during when Aleksandr Hleb was on the pitch: Aleksandr Hleb scored two goals (first, ricocheted from the defender into the net and was later considered an own goal), assisted Cesc Fàbregas and Theo Walcott in scoring two, and started another attack that resulted in one more goal, before being substituted for Tomáš Rosický on 63 minute with the score at 6–0. Aleksandr Hleb later became the man of the match, receiving the highest grade on Sky Sports fan poll at 9.5 for the game. Next match, Hleb once more played an important role for Arsenal as Aleksandr Hleb assisted Fàbregas again in scoring the late equalizer in the important league match against Liverpool F.C. away at Anfield. Two league games later, Alexander again showed Aleksandr Hleb skills when Aleksandr Hleb scored an impressive goal after "dancing" right in front of the Reading F.C. goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in a one-on-one situation. Alex has been described by Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray (footballer born 1955) as one of the most "skillful" players in the Premier League. Starting in late November, Aleksandr Hleb had a slight dip in form, after an injury that kept Aleksandr Hleb out for two or three weeks. After Aleksandr Hleb injury and a few unimpressive performances Aleksandr Hleb hit form again, with constantly improving performances, and seemed to have returned to top form with a great display against A.C. Milan in the first leg of their Champions League tie. Hleb's performances for Arsenal during the 2007–08 season have caught the eye of many, including Spanish giants FC Barcelona, with the club admitting they would be interested in signing the player. However, Hleb's agent Chris Mulcaster has since denied Hleb would be interested in a move to Barcelona. A few weeks later, Hleb himself also denied Aleksandr Hleb would be interested in a move stating Aleksandr Hleb is "very happy and proud to play for Arsenal" and has no intention of joining another club.
However, Aleksandr Hleb season was cut short after Aleksandr Hleb was banned for three games by the FA after Aleksandr Hleb was charged with violent conduct in an incident with Graeme Murty of Reading F.C. during their 2–0 win. Hleb admitted Aleksandr Hleb offense, thus ending Aleksandr Hleb season.

On 23 May 2008, The Sun claimed that Hleb's agent confirmed the midfielder would be leaving the Emirates in the summer after showdown talks with Arsène Wenger. However, on 28 May 2008, Hleb rubbished these reports as "nonsense", as well as stating Aleksandr Hleb "love" for the club.
13 August 2009, in an interview, Hleb express Aleksandr Hleb regret of leaving Arsenal for Barcelona

FC Barcelona

On 16 July 2008, a medical was held for the player at FC Barcelona, with Aleksandr Hleb 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 Aleksandr Hleb 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 — Aleksandr Hleb admitted that Aleksandr Hleb would readily accept an offer from German Fußball-Bundesliga team FC Bayern Munich, if such an opportunity arose in the summer. Aleksandr Hleb 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 Treble (association football) with Barcelona in Aleksandr Hleb first season with the club. Hleb featured briefly in the Copa del Rey final. The next week, Barcelona went on to beat Manchester United F.C. 2–0 in the UEFA Champion's League final; Hleb, however, did not feature.

Return to VfB Stuttgart

On 29 July 2009 it was announced that Hleb would return to Aleksandr Hleb former club VfB Stuttgart on loan. On July 30, this was confirmed by FC Barcelona. Aleksandr Hleb will play for the Swabia side until June 30, 2010.
Hleb played 55 minutes in the first game of the 09/10 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 Aleksandr Hleb first goal for Stuttgart, during a Uefa Champions League 2009–10 UEFA Champions League qualifying phase and play-off round First_leg_4 against FC Timişoara, in a 2-0 away win for the German side.

International career

Hleb won over 30 cap (sport) for the Under-21 Belarus national football team side. Aleksandr Hleb made Aleksandr Hleb full international debut as a substitute in a 1–0 defeat against Wales national football team in 2001. Aleksandr Hleb scored on Aleksandr Hleb first international start in a 5–2 victory over Hungary national football team 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 Aleksandr Hleb was a prima donna. In August 2007, new national team manager Bernd Stange made Aleksandr Hleb 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 national football team.

Miscellaneous

Hleb was called "Zauberlehrling" or "Wizard's Apprentice" for Aleksandr Hleb silky skills and dazzling tricks in Germany when Aleksandr Hleb played in the Bundesliga.

Personal life

While playing for Arsenal, Hleb lived in Hampstead, North London.
In 2003, Aleksandr Hleb was involved in a car crash in Minsk. A passenger in the other car later died.
Aleksandr Hleb brother Vyacheslav Hleb is also a footballer who plays for Chinese team , as well as the national team.

Hleb is married to Anastasia Kosenkova, an ex-singer of the Belarussian pop group 'Topless'.
Their wedding took place the summer of 2008.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliaksandr_Hleb

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