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Alen Halilovic, the 'Balkan Lionel Messi', opens up on explosive Barcelona exit and his biggest regret

Alen Halilovic, the 'Balkan Lionel Messi', opens up on explosive Barcelona exit and his biggest regret

Halilovic is now playing at his 12th club.

Alen Halilovic, a former Barcelona wonderkid dubbed the 'Balkan Lionel Messi', has revealed his biggest regret over his time at the club.

Halilovic started his career with Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb and looked destined for greatness.

His stature and playstyle drew comparisons to Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric. A move to the Camp Nou naturally saw every player compared to Messi too.

In 2014, Halilovic signed for Barcelona at the age of 17 to much fanfare. Many believed the youngster would be fast-tracked to the first team after a spell with Barcelona B in the Segunda Division.

He made his debut during a 4-0 victory over Elche in the Copa del Rey, replacing Adama Traore.

That would end up being his only competitive appearance for the Catalan giants.

Halilovic ended up being loaned out to Sporting Gijon in 2015 before sealing a permanent move to Hamburg in 2016.

He grew frustrated with his lack of first-team opportunities, with his entourage pushing for more.

Sejad Halilovic, Alen's father, believed he was good enough to get into the Blaugrana midfield.

Halilovic only made one competitive appearance for Barcelona. (Image

At the time, manager Luis Enrique had Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Xavi to choose from.

Now playing for Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands, his 12th club, Halilovic has reflected on his career in an interview with The Athletic.

He explained: “The first two years were perfect at Barca but I expected I would get a chance at the first team in the third. Then I realised Luis Enrique did not see me there.

"I was supposed to stay one more year as I was doing really well. I expected to go to Euros with the national team but didn’t get selected and Barca decided I had to go out on loan again, so I was a little frustrated with everything.

Halilovic is now at Fortuna Sittard, the 12th club of his career. (Image

"I did not want to go out again, so I said 'F*** it, I go from here'.

"When you are young, you think you don’t have time and I had to be ahead of (Andres) Iniesta and Xavi (at Barca). Looking now, I just needed to be patient. Train and wait. It will come."

Halilovic has also claimed he turned down a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia before choosing to join Fortuna Sittard, who are 11th in the Eredivisie.

He added: "They wanted to give me a lot of money but I said 'no' because I still think that if I am healthy I can achieve something great. That's why I chose to come here."

Featured Image Credit: Barcelona/Twitter & Getty Images

Topics: Barcelona, La Liga, Eredivisie