Aliaksandr The Great
Alex Hleb, much maligned in the past by some Gooners, but now firmly establishing himself as a fam favourite, and enjoying a revelatory season for the Gunners, which has seen him display all his usual silky footwork and creativity, whilst adding goals to his repertoire, has once again been named Belarus platyer of the year, for the fifth time in six years.
now, granted, Belarus might not be one of the leading lights in European football, but hey let's face it - I'm English, so I can hardly go shouting about footballing superiority from the rooftops now, can I?
Luckily I am also a Gooner, so I can.
And whilst Belarus aren't exactly sitting at Europe's top table, laden down with talent, that doens't mean that a nation largely devoid of world-class players cannot produce one or two that light up the major leagues.
Liberia have not yet set the world on fire so far in world tournaments, yet from the African nation came the stellar talent of George Weah. A tremendous player. Whoever saw him play and recognised the potential in the guy deserves serious kudos. Remind me who it was again?
But back to Hleb.
Yes, his country may not be one of the big boys, but there's no doubting the skill of the Arsenal wideman / man-in-the-hole.
I'd go so far as to say I cannot recall seeing such magnificent close control in my time as an Arsenal fan. I think, talking in terms of Arsenal players, only Anders Limpar comes close.
I'm not sure how many Gooners this time last year would have been saying they'd be hoping for the Belorussian to make a quick recovery from injury, as we'd seriously miss his presence in the team. But his stock has risen, and how.
Congrats to Alex on being honoured yet again by his country. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that, and also in wishing him a speedy recovery.