Fabregas snub highlights Arsenal’s family values

Hleb makes the Gunners’ day! by IO

How do you know you are an Arsenal fan? It is how you react when you read some news about Arsenal; like the one in the Metro about how Alexandr Hleb sold Fabregas a cold shoulder before the Belarus Euro 2016 qualifier game with Spain in Skopje.

Hleb and Fabregas played together at Arsenal and Barcelona. Given this record and association, you will understand why out of everyone in the Spanish team, Fabregas is the one person Hleb, who now plays in Turkey, should have loved to see, hug and chitchat briefly with.

But it was not so. In fact, like everyone else, Fabregas also felt that meeting Hleb was going to be another wonderful re-union, and when Hleb was greeting other former Barcelona players, Fabregas outstretched his hand for greetings. But Hleb ignored him and moved on to the person behind him. It was so obvious and so awkward an action from Hleb. In the video (watch it here) which showed the embarrassing moment, Fabregas was so stunned and could not know what to make of that!

As a Gunners fan, you could well remember how Hleb and Flamini left Arsenal when we needed their services most. Hleb went to Barcelona and Flamini to AC Milan. Sadly, they were great players at Arsenal, but their sojourn to those clubs sped up their slide from prominence in the sport.

Both of these players have recognized how much Arsene Wenger is a wonderful coach, because he makes you play well even when you are not so super. And Hleb in most interviews he granted, always regretted that he left Arsenal.
Read what he told the Telegraph in 2009; “Of course I regret leaving Arsenal…I was playing every week for one of the most exciting sides in Europe, a team which was always in the top four in the Premier League and were Champions League contenders.”

He continued: “I was being guided by one of the best coaches in the world in Arsene Wenger. I owe him a great deal…I developed a better all-round game under him and I became more robust physically, learnt to look up more and play better passes and improved greatly as a team player. No player ever gets worse under Wenger.”

When you read this kind of comment, you understand that someone like Hleb did not expect Fabregas to make the same mistake he made. He sure did not expect that after his and Flamini’s stumble, another set of Wenger brought-ups like Fabregas and Song would abandon the ship again when Arsenal needed them so much. And like it happened with Hleb and Flamini, Fabregas and Song’s journey to Barcelona proved another Achilles Heel.

But then, if the narrative had ended there, perhaps Hleb would not have been much irked. But that Fabregas, like Van Persie, eventually left Barcelona and chose to go to a club which is in direct opposition to the Gunners. It is, of course, at the player’s discretion which club to sign and play for. But all over the world many players have chosen a point of honour of not playing for clubs that hurt the values of the team and fans that made them.

If you read Hleb’s interview above, you will see that Hleb has great love and respect for Arsene, and is still a Gooner through and through. So, everyday, reading not just about Fabregas playing for Chelsea but also making many of those disparaging comments about Arsenal, or much worse being the point that the English press latch on to troll the Gunners, must have been very unacceptable to Hleb as it is to all Gooners. And that wonderful moment was seized by Hleb to show it to Fabregas.

It helped me; this action of Hleb’s. While going to school in Asia, one of my most favourite vests were Arsenal jerseys with Fabregas’ name and the beautiful number 10. Until the sad day he signed for Chelsea and began to talk rubbish. I trashed the jerseys, beautiful as they were.

I have always believed; football is a game but it has values. Nobody exemplifies the value of this sport than Wenger and the Arsenal club. Like Abou Diaby has spent so many years battling injury at the Emirates, only a club like Arsenal (despite losing some high profile games because players like Diaby were not available) could still stick with such players and do more than necessary to see if they could shake off the ill-luck and achieve their potentials. Will I talk of Van Persie? Sadly, the only season Van Persie played fully without injury was the season he turned his back to all the support and love he enjoyed in the times of his difficulty at Emirates.

Chelsea would not allow this. Man United will not. Man City will never ever. That is why I say; in Arsenal we do not just play football. Arsenal is a value system that runs like a family. If everything in Arsenal is about money, Van Persie would not have realized his potentials; same with many other present and past players who struggled through injury or form before coming through in Arsenal. Arsene Wenger makes himself a father to all. He protected them from the media. He supported them through criticisms. He took blames when they do not play well. He praised them when they do.

So, I do not accept any argument, especially ones which suggest players leave for fame or laurels. But even when you feel like you must leave, it should not be to a club where your temporary success will mean a direct insult to the value system that raised you. Best way to avoid this is to go to another league. It is a sacrifice worth making. Or when you arrive in a new club, you do not just say anything you like against your former club (and not just former, but one which made you a star when probably no one gave you change: like Nasri).

In the end, I am so happy with Hleb. He has proven that once a Gooner, always a Gooner. Our value is returning again: three trophies in two seasons. Having some of the most creative talents in English football with balance of age and experience. Not only cold shoulders will do. Soon even the like Van Persie, Fabregas, etc will eat their words. Meanwhile, Fabregas is no longer a Gooner.

Okeke Izuchukwu Job
Pukyong National University, South Korea

Tags Fabregas Hleb Van Persie


  1. What happened to the prodi son? I hated when Arsenal fans referred him as such while they slated Nasri! He funded his move away from Arsenal. That alone should speak volumes. Yes!

      1. Yes he regretted by moving to Chelsea. I always maintain that Fabrigas should have taken a taxi to the bridge instead of booking a flight to Barcelona before making a U-turn!

      2. what is it with arsenal fans on here. either they are straight out trolls (not arsenal fans) like hafiz or indirect supports of such trolls (arsenal fans) by backing up their stupid comments with comments like “Sanchez loses possession too much”, “Wilshere isn’t quality and should be sold to city”, “Walcott isn’t a good enough striker”, “Ozil is lazy” and the best of all, “sterling is better”. better then who? well take your pick. apparently to those troll supporters he is better then Ozil, Walcott, Welbeck.

        And now we have people on here defending fabregaz. not me. He wanted his boyhood club? that was BS in my opinion. If they were his boyhood club why leave for us? and then why leave for Chelsea?

        he never had any loyalty. not for barca, not for us and not for Chelsea. which is fair enough but why defend him and make him out for what he isn’t.

    1. I actually feel sorry for Nasri in some ways, he didn’t ask to be sold and was told he wouldn’t be by Wenger and then he had been told by Gazidis that an offer had been accepted.

      From day 1 I have said Nasri wouldn’t have been sold if it was 100% down to Wenger, he didn’t want to lose Cesc and Nasri in the same window.

  2. Arsenal and Arsene couldn’t have been a coincidence. They’re a match made in heaven. VALUE is the word.
    Got to be proud of my Nigerian, Igbo brothers, Uche and Okechukwu. You guys are great.

  3. Klopp for Arsenal!

    We need a change….time for a new blood and challenge

    Arsenal 2016, spend and we will be champions

  4. What a load of hogwash.
    Hleb walked out on Arsenal
    so he has no right to
    criticise others. Dumb!!!
    Fabregas played his heart out
    for Arsenal but the club and manager was not good
    enough to keep up with Mourinho and Ferguson.
    So Fab went to Barca and won titles.
    Cole went to Chelsea for better money
    and titles and won everything with the blues.
    Toure Cliche Nasri Adebayor went to City
    for better money and to win titles and they succeeded.
    RVP went to Utd and won the title he knew
    Arsene and Arsenal had given up trying to win.
    Fabregas wanted to return to Arsenal but the club turned him down.
    We need to leave the Arsenal loser excuse mentality behind
    and develop a no excuses win only mentality.
    But how many in the club have the guts to fight
    and how many prefer to live in the excuse bubble?

      1. Van Persie succeeded at Man. U? Fair enough, I just wonder if he’d still be playing top flight football if he had been at United from the start with such a horrendous injury record, Fergie would have shipped him off ages before his eventual recovery, dare I say he was destined to win the Premier league the season he won it with United anyways, he was the hottest striker in the league for those two seasons, the only thing we lacked in his final season at Arsenal was enough creativity behind him and a lack of suitable replacement to take ocassionally take the load off him, but then Cazorla, Poldi and Giroud had been brought in for re-inforcements, he played with a patently inferior team to Arsenal’s that season at United, with the exception of Rooney of course, he single handedly carried them to the title, what away to show loyalty. Imagine Diaby miraculously recovering from from his niggling injuries, becoming thge best midfeilder in the league and claiming Arsenal lacks ambition. Players don’t help their club win titles from the treatment table, they win it on the pitch, how long was Van Persie on the pitch for Arsenal in 8 years? If these ingrates had stayed, what kind of team would we have had? Abegi joor!

    1. How exactly do you keep up with Jose the spender in period were all the money was pumped into the stadium? How do you retain players when the board pushes the sale of our best players through at the sight of a big cheque?

      Glad those days are over, now we can rebuild and win again.

      3 trophies in a little over a year, just after we start having money again. Coincidence?

    2. Hleb has no right to disrespect cesc since they both walked the same path.
      Hleb left us for barca, we criticised him. He ignores cesc and he is a gunner through and through. What stupid logic is this?!?!
      Whats next now? Van persie ignores cesc and he is a gunner through and through?!

    3. You’ve hit the nail on the head there what a waste of an article, Hleb Nasri, Song, Van Persie et al ALL went because they A) Thought they were Bigger and better than the club, and B) wanted glory elsewhere and more money, some of them were more honourable in the way that they did it and some were just greedy egotistical Idiots. I loath Van Persie for what he did but you have to remember that the CLUB was partially responsible for what happened with him as well he did have talks with them to ascertain what their ambitions were moving forward and was not satisfied whith what they said, so moved on. Fabregas played his a$$ off for us in every single game and went back to the club that was his boyhood club and was also willing to come back to us at the start of this season gone and the club or Wenger said they didn’t need him, well clearly Arsenal did as has been proved.
      You have to realise that Arsenal football club view all of this as business they don’t see it as a family ethos they see it in monetary terms so you cant blame players for doing the same. When they were selling all of our top talent season in and season out because they were searching for extra money did the board care about the fans views? Do they really care now?? The answer to that is NO!!!!!!
      Alex Hleb floundered when he leaft the club as dod many others because he and they were not as good as they thought they were and that’s why they ended up in lesser divisions and in sub standard leagues away from top flight football. Fabregas and to a lesser degree Van Persie did at least try and stick with the club until they could see no way forward.
      Familly values My Ar$e its business pure and simple the reason Hleb snubbed Fab was likely a personnel thing NOT Loyalty to Arsenal because Hleb had none and that’s that what a load of rubbish.

      1. Could not agree more. Incorrect, non-factual fantastical and sentimental drivel.

        AFC are a Business pure and simple and act no differently to any other club. Like every other business increasing profit is the goal.

        And as for Hleb being a Gooner and Fab not one. Utter drivel. Both were Gonners when they left for pastures new and greener in order to benefit their own careers.

    4. I normally give you thumbs down on your comments. On this occasion, I wish I could give 5thumbs up.
      I agree with you 100%. The same reason Henry left for Barcelona was the same reason Fab left too. Henry wanted to return, and he was accepted. Fab wanted to return and he was rejected.
      We need to stop all these excuses and win titles.
      Almost every player that left Arsenal won a title or 2.
      The best way to shut them up is by developing and maintaining a winning mentality.
      Nice one @davidnz

    5. article is hogwash and your reply is hogwash as well. fabregas left arsenal for a woman and left barca for a woman. all be it a different woman but still a woman.

      arsenal, Chelsea or spurs. he didn’t care.

    6. I always love it when a player says he wants “to win trophies”. Invariably what he doesn’t want is to have to work for them the hard way – “wants to win trophies” is a thinly veiled euphemism for wanting to go to the team best placed to win the next available trophy. Getting transferred to Barcelona, Chelsea or City to pick up a trophy is NOT ambition – just a free ride with a team that would have won the same said trophies with or without them.

      I bet Kos treasures his 2 FA cup medals with more personal pride than Sagna has for his bit-part PL medal.

  5. whether they (Hleb or fabregas) regret the actions or not, is actually none of our business…… They both left when we needed em most……the similarity…maybe they were tempted to do so…maybe they never had faith in the Arsenal…..or perhaps they were just too young and foolish…….none of all that matters now…… We have evolved…..we have moved on….. They should do so too and let the sleeping dog Lie

  6. Whatever that was yesterday it wasn’t what you guys are making it out to be. Hleb and Fab are good friends.

    ‘He is my best friend at Arsenal, together with (Mathieu) Flamini.’

    Hleb when asked about Fabregas after he left. So yeah, stupid media speculation and not at all a “snub”

  7. Just read on sky that Cech is interested in joining Arsenal while Chelsea would rather sell him to PSG. Hope he joins but I think either one of our goalkeepers will have to be sold for that to happen which knowing Wenger seems very unlikely.

    1. LOL that is Mou’s “family values” – preferring to ship Cech and his family out of London after 12 years rather than man up and just let the guy be.

  8. Sorry but I respectfully disagree.

    Hleb and Fabregas both left first and foremost, but Hleb had no prior connection to Barcelona. Isn’t it ironic how we are talking about a family ethos but are blasting Fabregas for wanting to go to a club he grew up supporting, in Spain might I add?

    Moreover Fabregas WANTED to come back to Arsenal but was told they had no use or his services soI sincerely ask what would you have the man do? He has a family to feed and he could have chosen worse places to go. It wa either Chelsea or one of the Manchester clubs. But the article does not address any alternative course of action.

    Lastly it is mildly comical how we view this scenario yet have zero problems moving for Cech. Is he not from a direct rival, is he not a Chelsea legend? Part of Mourinho’s revered old guard? Or is it now acceptable as he’s strengthening us instead of the opposite?

    There is an underlying sense of hypocrisy in this piece in my opinion

    1. I do agree with your first point about going back ‘home’. I can understand.

      regarding second point, the window Arsene bought Ozil, he was waiting to see if Cesc would come back to Arsenal. That window even Man Utd were after him. But Cesc said he wanted to fight for his place and is happy with Barca. The next window, we wouldnt buy Cesc as it would create havoc in our team as we had plenty players who fit that role. Also Luis Enrique wanted Cesc to be part of his plan. Go read his interview, its available online. But Cesc was adamant to leave his ‘home’ now and goes to Chelsea, the team he said he would never join (and i guess we have to liberty to kill him 😛 joking)

      Thirdly, Petr is REPLACED and thus wants to move out. Totally OPPOSITE.

      However I have learned through football, players only care about trophies and cash. Very few are Club loyal. Nowadays its only the FANS who are loyal. And I will support whoever dons the Arsenal Jersey. Whether they play well or not, cause we are their only supporters

    2. I agree. I am probably in a minority here but I feel distinctly queezy with the prospect of a true Chelsea legend coming across town to help us out. However, the fact that Fabregas happened and has been rammed down our throats by a number of people, makes the prospect slightly less unpleasant. Ashley Cole also.

  9. Don’t care honestly
    They are our past and especially during the years in the wilderness, I dont cherish. They chose Barcelona. Henry chose Barcelona but after he helped us win loads of trophies

    Alexis, Ozil, Koscielny, Cazorla, Mertsacker, Wilshere, Walcott, Ramsey, Coquelin etc are our present and future

    I’m hoping our future will also include Cech, Kondogbia, Schneiderlin, Vidal or krychowiak and Lacazette or Cavani too lol

  10. to all the people loving up fabregas and saying he was pushed into joining chelsea.

    wenger said when asked why he didnt sign him.

    “I believe his decision was already made. I personally believe that deal was done a long time ago, early 2014. I didn’t speak to him directly.

    “I was informed that he might go to Chelsea but when I was informed I thought the deal was already done.”

    i believe wenger **** fabregas. as for hleb hes just being bitter and jealous nothing to do with arsenal.

  11. Was a nice read and you could tell the lad respects Arsene and the Arsenal for the right reasons. Some have said Ozil reminds of Bergkamp, but for me the way Ozil shifts the ball from one side to the other making space for himself reminds me allot of Hleb. The movement he makes with his body and then the first touch forward, allot similar are Ozil and Hleb.

    Lets just hope that barca are completely turned off from snapping up Gunner talent. Hleb would have been a joy to watch along with Fab and Song. I think Barca may come sniffing round Jelalem, they wont worry about body strength not until he is honed in his skills whereas we cant put him in until he is physically able for prem. Lets just hope that they are shy about getting bitten once more. Also Gabriel, i have a feeling that they will come enquiring one day.

  12. I still respected Fabregas up until his interview when he said Mourinho is the best coach he’s ever had.

  13. both player have personal beef, not cus fab went to chelsea, didnt hleb came bk to england from barca when he was on loan cant rember the club he played for, u guys should stop makin words

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