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17.07.2008 18:19

Alexander Hleb: vini, vidi, vinci

Berta Brau

Alexander Hleb has had an emotional first day with Barça. In just 8 hours, he arrived in Barcelona, took a medical, signed his contract and was presented. On Wednesday, Hleb’s dream came true.

A change of school, a change of job or, in this case, a change of team – there are always nerves, uncertainties, excitements and new sensations. Alexander Hleb went through all that in his first day as a Barça player.

First day nerves

Alexander Hleb, hiding his nerves behind a smile, landed at 12.00 at El Prat airport and in a few words told Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat, still speaking carefully in the conditional, what it would mean for him to play for Barcelona. “It is a dream for me, I love this club and signing for Barça is fantastic”. The Belarusian knew he had a long day ahead, but that if all went to plan, by the end of it he would officially be an FC Barcelona player.

First stop, the crest

160708_hlebescut_x2x.JPGHaving collected his bags, Hleb made his way to the Camp Nou, there were five relentless hours ahead. No sooner at the ground than he headed for the club offices where both the media and fans were waiting for him, and he posed for pictures by the club crest. Despite the cameras, he kept his smile and composure as he signed autographs for the admiring children in the crowd.

Five busy hours

160708_revisiohleb.jpgThe day had barely started. Once the photos had been taken, Hleb had to take a series of medical tests, which he passed with flying colours. Alexander Hleb, said club doctor Ricard Pruna, is “very well balanced”. The dream was getting closer and that showed in the players’ face and thoughts, as he joked with the doctors that examined him throughout the testing process.

Hleb joins Barça

QM3D3606.jpgAt 19.45, Alexander Hleb entered the offices of president Joan Laporta, and only a signature stood between him and his dream club. Words of gratitude were issued and then the different parties signed their names – Hleb was a Barça player. From there on, it was impossible to wipe the smile off the player’s face.

The contract signed, he then made his way to his official presentation. An hour later the midfielder appeared before the media, along with Joan Laporta, Txiki Begiristain and Pep Guardiola, who only had good words to say about a player they feel fits in perfectly with what they described as the “Barça profile”.

In the words of Hleb

Apart from reiterating his joy at signing for Barça, one of the questions he had to answer for the media was the exact way of pronouncing his name. “My name is really pronounced ‘Gleb', but the translation from Belarusian was made using an ‘H' so at Stuttgart they called me ‘Hleb'. When I got to Arsenal I wanted to change it, but a friend of mine said: What do want to change it for? Everybody know you as Hleb! So I still play with the name Hleb and people pronounce it like that.”
Another clarification was related to his position on the pitch: “I will play wherever the boss needs me, and even if he asks me to play in goal, I’ll do it”, he laughed.
Alexander Hleb: vini, vidi, vinci
First training session for Belarusian
Hleb’s first training session for Barcelona was highly intense and he kept up the pace in the second of the day. First thing in the morning, the Belarusian joined the first team for work, giving him the chance not only to get to know them but the coaching staff as well. He looked comfortable and participated in both of the day’s sessions in perfectly normal condition.

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