Aleksandr Hleb has recalled how a text from former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger left him in tears.
Hleb joined the Gunners from Stuttgart in 2005, playing the best football of his career for Wenger’s side before earning a move to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2008.
“It’s still difficult for me to explain why I left Arsenal,” Hleb said, quoted by Planet Football. “I was absolutely happy there. Arsene completely trusted me, it was idyllic. And then I decided to leave.
“I was on vacation and agents and managers convinced me that I had to go to Barcelona. To be honest, I didn’t really understand what I was doing. At some point, I realised, ‘Oh God! I’m leaving Arsenal!’
“When Arsene said that it was a matter of hours, I felt devastated. It was really hard for me to accept that. Wenger did everything to make me stay at Arsenal.
“He even texted me as I was fishing. ‘Alex, I won’t let you go, we need you here.’ I cried when I read it.”