The leading Belarusian footballer of his generation, Aleksandr Hleb has enjoyed high-profile exposure at club level with VfB Stuttgart, Arsenal FC and FC Barcelona. A swift, effective ball carrier who glides past opponents, he can operate either as a winger or in a more central berth.
• Born in Minsk, he signed for FC BATE Borisov aged 17 and won the Belarusian title in his first season (1999), making 13 appearances (all but one as a substitute) and scoring once.
• Joined Stuttgart – along with younger brother Vyacheslav − in summer 2000 and made Bundesliga debut against 1. FC Kaiserslautern in September that year; became regular first-teamer in 2001/02 under coach Felix Magath and also a Belarusian international, making debut in team's final 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier, a 1-0 defeat in Wales.
• Five years with Stuttgart peaked with Bundesliga runners-up spot in 2002/03 and UEFA Champions League last-16 place in 2003/04; joined Arsenal in 2005.
• Injury delayed his impact in England but Hleb played in 2006 UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona and went on to make 130 appearances for the Gunners, scoring ten goals and enjoying an excellent 2007/08 campaign.
• Joined Barcelona as replacement for Ronaldinho but only peripheral figure in Catalan club's historic treble success; sent back to Stuttgart on season-long loan in July 2009 and made positive start with crucial goal in UEFA Champions League qualifier versus FC Timişoara.
Did you know?
Hleb was voted Belarusian footballer of the year six times in seven years from 2002 to 2008.
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