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Laurens: Why Lyon vs. Monaco matters

Ligue 1
By ESPN Staff

Hleb rules out Birmingham stay

Alexander Hleb has ruled out a return to Birmingham next season but the on-loan Barcelona player wants to remain in the Premier League.

• Birmingham 2-0 Sunderland

In an ideal world Hleb would like to return to his former club Arsenal although there have been no hints from the club they are interested.

Hleb has struggled to make an impact at St. Andrew's because of injuries and missed the Carling Cup final triumph over the Gunners with a knee problem.

He is determined to end the season on a high and help Blues ensure their top flight status. But Hleb, who set up the second goal in Saturday's 2-0 win over Sunderland, believes City's style of football is not suited to his own game.

Hleb said: "Before, I think teams like Birmingham were easy to play with but it is difficult when you play in such teams, not like Arsenal or Barcelona. Here you need to just fight and run, not too much passing, and this for me is something new. I have enjoyed it in a way because it is something new. This is a different experience although I prefer to play and to enjoy football. But I will give 100% for this club every weekend.''

When asked if there any chance of rejoining Birmingham, Hleb said: "Eh, no, no. I am happy and enjoy my time here, everything is good here, but this is a little bit not my way (style) of football. Barcelona is the biggest club in the world but it is difficult when you are not from Spain. It has happened (not being picked) with everybody, with [Thierry] Henry, everyone. Josep Guardiola picks the Spanish players. I've not had a lot of chances to play there. I prefer to stay in the Premier League.''

When asked which club he would like to play for, Hleb said: "I know which one. I hope everything is good. Of course, I love Arsenal. It is always in my heart but now is too early to speak about a new club. I want to give my best for Birmingham but if I have chance to go back (to Arsenal).....of course. Everything is possible but I am just saying if I get this chance, of course I'd come, but it's too early to speak about this.''


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