Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Hleb: "I never swap shirts with other players"

Barcelona player Alexander Hleb gave an interview to FIFA's official website.

You've played for Stuttgart, Arsenal and Barcelona, all of them leading European clubs. Where have you enjoyed it the most?
I've basically never thought about anything like that. But considering your question now, I've been well settled at all three and have plenty of good things to say about them all. Obviously, I got to play more often for Stuttgart and Arsenal, and I really, really enjoyed myself at both clubs. Barcelona is a fantastic city though. It’s where I want to play and take the next step.

Certain sections of the media think you may be poised for a return to Germany. Could Bayern Munich be an option?
It's always nice when a big club expresses an interest. But I play for Barcelona, and I'm happy where I am. I'd be genuinely delighted to earn a regular place in this team. I came here to play, and I'll do my level best to get into the starting line-up.

In 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, Belarus are fourth in their group behind England, Croatia and Ukraine. Can Belarus realistically claim a place in South Africa?
I'd say it's 50-50. It's up to us now. We have to fight for every single point, and our only option is to move forwards. We also need some luck, because I can't imagine football without luck.

What does representing your country mean to you?
Representing your country, pulling on the national shirt, running out onto the field, and hearing your national anthem is a great honour for every player, from every country, on every continent of this planet. It's what little lads who are just starting out dream of all the time. I'm simply overjoyed to be part of the Belarus national set-up.

You've often played alongside your younger brother Vyacheslav for the national team. How do you feel about that?
We get on well both on and off the field. We have a good relationship and we're very close friends. We work together well on the field of play too, and that's a positive influence on our play. I think he fully deserves his place in the national team. I'm hoping to play alongside my brother for a long time yet.

You were Belarus Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Are you your country's best footballer of all time?
We've produced any number of great players who'd deserve that title. I can't offer an opinion about myself. That's something for the experts. It's obviously a great honour for me, and I hope I continue to fulfil the expectations of everyone who puts their faith in me.

Do you have an idol? Who would you swap shirts with?
When I was younger, I was in awe of Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona. I basically never swap shirts with other players.

In Germany, they used to call you The Sorcerer's Apprentice. What do you make of that?
I’ve heard that, but I’ve never really understood what it was supposed to mean. Reporters always give nicknames to players. It’s part of the game, and part of their job.

Who's the best midfielder in the world?
Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta.

One last question: What are your goals for 2009?
To win as many trophies as possible with Barcelona, and qualify for the World Cup in 2010.

read the full interview here

Read more:
Hleb still believes in Barcelona future
An evaluation of last year's transfer summer
Hleb could be part of Ribery deal

1 comment:

fcbee said...

Just admit it, Alex: you want to swap shirts, but nobody wants to have your shirt these days...

Just joking.. Hope he gets better though. Show us what you got, man!!!

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