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20.07.2008 10:00

Hleb: “The way Barça plays is great”

Xavi Rocamora

Alexander Hleb is proud to be part of a team like Barça which, like his former side Arsenal, has an attacking philosophy. The Byelorussian wants to integrate, play and above all win.

QM3D3921.jpgA smiling and comfortable Alexander Hleb set out in an interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat his hopes and goals for this new stage of his career at Barcelona. The midfielder said he is right-footed but shoots better with his left and revealed one of his dreams: to win the Champions League with Barça by beating Arsenal.

What does coming to Barça mean to you?

“It’s a great opportunity for me. Since I was 7 my dream has been to play for a big club like Barça. I love Barça and I want to do my very best to try to win as many titles as possible.”

What do you know about Barça?

“I know it’s a great team, with great players. What I want to do is to integrate, play good football with them and obviously win.”

Have you had the chance to look round the city?

QM3D4336.jpg“Not that much. I once came to Barcelona from London with my mate Cesc Fábregas, but that was only a day-trip and I saw little of the city which is now my home.”

You are the first Byelorussian to play for Barça.

“That’s great and I’m pleased to be the first.”

Let’s talk about football. You can play just about anywhere, but which position do you prefer?

“I really don’t mind where I play – wherever the coach tells me. I learnt a lot at Arsenal from Arsène Wenger. He taught me to play in different positions and now I can play anywhere.”

We’ve seen you shooting well with both feet. Are you left or right-footed?

QM3D3882.jpg“I’m right-footed, but now I think now I shoot better with the left because I’m always practising shooting and passing with it.”

Piqué said at a press conference that you will bring clarity in attack and that you are hard to stop in one on ones.

“Thanks a lot, Piqué! I don’t want to talk about myself. I just want to give this club the best I can.”

Did you know that Barça fans like this sort of attacking football?

“The way Barça plays is great. FC Barcelona and Arsenal have the best ways of playing in the world. I come from Arsenal and I know about attacking play and I hope I can continue with it here.”

Talking of Barça and Arsenal, they met in the Champions League final in Paris in 2006, when you were with Arsenal. What do you remember about that day?

hleb_final_champions0506.JPG“Well, it’s a really important game in my life. We lost, but it was a great match. Now I hope I can win the Champions League with Barça.”

And now you’ll be playing with the team that was your opponent…

“Yes. And I hope to meet Arsenal in the final this season.”

You starred in the Bundesliga and the EPL, and now you’re in Spain. What do you know about the Spanish League?

“It’s a tough League with high class football. We’ll see what I can do. I hope to be able to play and score a lot of goals. I really want the team to win titles.”

The squad has been revamped and you’ve come with Cáceres, Keita, Piqué and Alves. What do you think about them?

QM3D4340.jpg“They’re fantastic players and will be really important. Plus the new coach believes in them. I reckon with all these changes we can play good football and win titles.”

There have also been changes in the dugout. What do you know about Josep Guardiola and what’s your first impression?

“He was a great player and I know he recently won the League with the reserves. I hope he can now do it with the first team.”

What are you hoping for in the new season?

“I want to integrate as quickly as possible and just play and enjoy playing with my team-mates. That’s what’s important to me now.”

The complete interview with Hleb will be broadcast on Barça TV this Sunday at 15.00, 21.00 and 00.15.
Hleb: “The way Barça plays is great”
His friends
At Barça he’ll meet up again with Henry.

“Yeah, he’s my mate. We spent two years together. We understand each other and I’m real pleased to be back with him.”

Apart from Henry, do you know any of your new team-mates?

“I know all of them because I’ve seen them on TV and I like the way all of them play.”

People have said a lot about how well you get on with Cesc Fábregas. What’s he told you about your new club?

“He’s told me lots of things, his time in the academy with players like Piqué, Messi and so on. He loves this club, and though he’s at Arsenal, who knows, maybe one day he’ll come back here … He and Flamini are my best mates at Arsenal.”

When Henry came to Barça he said a few things in Catalan that Cesc Fábregas had taught him. Can you say anything?

“Bona tarda… I hope to learn more really quickly and be able to do interviews in Catalan.”

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