Hleb accused of creating tension for Belarus

MINSK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Former Belarus captain Sergei Gurenko has accused team mate Alexander Hleb of creating tension within the national side.

Gurenko, who retired from international duty after helping Belarus to a 4-2 win over Slovenia in last month's Euro 2008 qualifier, also called the Arsenal midfielder arrogant and selfish.

"For the Slovenia match for example, the whole team boarded a bus while the Hleb brothers (Alexander and Vyacheslav) were driven in a private car," the Lokomotiv Moscow defender was quoted as saying by Belarus media.

"We must understand this is the national team, not the team made up of Hleb brothers and the rest of the squad should not play second fiddle to them.

"But in reality, when we win it's always the Hlebs victory but when we lose it's the team's fault," Gurenko said.

"When he (Alexander Hleb) plays for the national team he doesn't work hard, never tackles the opposition. He wants the whole team just play around him."

The 34-year-old Gurenko, who spent some seasons in Italy's Serie A, added: "If we don't change the atmosphere around the national team now, it would become unmanageable for the next 10 years."

Hleb said he was hurt and disappointed by Gurenko's comments.

"It was very strange to say the least to hear such words from someone whom I've played with," the Arsenal midfielder said.

"Yes, Gurenko is a former captain of the national team but no one gave him the right to say such things.

"He had quit the national team, then decided to come back and retire again, for good. Now, he throws dirt at all other players and the coach. If he feels that way it would have been better for him not to come back at all."

Belarus, who are in fourth place in Group G after notching their first win in the Euro 2008 campaign, play their next qualifier away to Luxembourg in March 2007.