From child prodigy to unemployment

Alen Halilovic, 24, was going for a world star but derailed. He is now without a team, after Milan rescinded his contract. He has not played a minute in Serie A.


Alen Halilovic, 24, made his debut on June 10, 2013 with the Croatia national team jersey. He thus became the youngest footballer to wear the checkered shirt at 16 years, 11 months and 23 days. The country that enjoyed the football of Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Igor Tudor or Robert Jarni, among many others, was excited about its new child prodigy. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were great footballers but all the experts pointed out that Halilovic was better than his predecessors. The great hope. By then he was already doing mischief with his left leg at Dinamo Zagreb and was about to pack his bags to be part of La Masía. What would be a brilliant career in the Barça quarry began that would make him a world star very soon. But everything went wrong.

It was 2014 when Barcelona broke the market to sign up-and-coming Croatian talent. Five million euros he paid to the team of 'his loves'. His compatriot Rakitic was his godfather. The 2014-2015 season began as part of the culé subsidiary, led by Eusebio Sacristán, in the Second Division. A bridge year to jump to the first team as soon as possible. It was not the best generation of homegrown players. There were Grimaldo (Benfica); Gumbau (Girona); Patric (Lazio); Ortolá (Tenerife) or Sergi Samper (Vissel Kobe). Little more. And that Halilovic noticed. His debut in the first team was delayed. His career, full of obstacles and of little fortune, never quite got off the ground at Can Barça.

Only one match with the first team

Barcelona went out the back door after years of troubles and with only one match played with the first team. Eighth final of the Copa del Rey for the 2014-2015 campaign. 28 minutes in the 0-4 victory at Elche. He replaced Adama Traoré. It was 2016 when Hamburg was betting on redirecting the career of the youth star. He also had no luck in Germany and ended up on loan to Las Palmas. He had previously played on loan for Barcelona at Sporting de Gijón. He made good games but couldn't get off the ground: five goals and nine assists in three seasons.

As now, in the summer of 2018 they were left without a team and Milan thought about reviving their talent. But Italian soccer was another bump in his career. He went on loan to the Standard de Liège and there he lived another hell: "They lied and caused me problems." Last season he tried to find his way in the Dutch Heerenven but the premature completion of the Eredivisie cut short his season. Back in Italy, Milan have terminated their contract without playing a minute in Serie A. Now it is their turn to return to the starting box and find a new stop for their nomadic career. A team to show their football and save their career. And who knows whether to return to the Croatian national team.

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