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Former Barcelona prodigy gives advice to Lamine Yamal: “Has to continue like this”



Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Alen Halilovic’s story at Barcelona will always be remembered as a ‘what if’.

The Croatian footballer was seen as one of the academy’s brightest talents following his arrival in 2016. He even went on to make his international debut at the age of 16, but his career soon went down a spiral.

Since his departure from Barcelona in 2016, he has played in nine teams only to find himself on the move every summer. Serie A, Bundesliga 2, the Belgian Pro League, and the EFL Championship – Halilovic has played in them all in the past decade.

Lack of patience led to Barcelona exit: Halilovic

The 27-year-old Fortuna Sittard player spoke to AS in a detailed interview earlier this week where he spoke elaborately on his time at Barcelona and the memories he carried. He began with a brief recap of his beginnings at La Masia.

“There was a plan. The first year I was going to play for Barça B because they were in the Second Division. I played the games and trained with the first team but lacked patience. I was young and always wanted to play.”

“I missed that, and I was wrong to go out of Spain. As I have told you, this football is good for me. I always played well in Spain,” he added, regretting the hasty decisions he made.

Halilovic then went on to speak on what made La Masia such a special academy and the specific skillsets they targeted in budding talents.

“The training of a technical player who knows how to cope with one or two maximum touches, how to generate speed in the game. They are on top of you, and they always tell you what you have to do, including one-twos.”

“It is impossible that one does not improve with that philosophy and that, in the end, players do not arrive in the first team when things are so clear,” he added on La Masia’s exceptional success rate.

Advice for Yamal

The next big thing. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Halilovic was once seen as Barcelona’s brightest talent from the academy. Lamine Yamal is now in a similar position with the first team in today’s game, and the Croatian had some advice for the teenager.

“When you see him on the field, he enjoys and plays very well. He doesn’t have to change anything to succeed in Barcelona, he just has to continue like this.”

The Croatian midfielder is one of the few lucky players to have shared the training ground with Lionel Messi. He recalled watching the Argentine ace spin his magic and how it helped his development, saying:

“When I was there, Messi helped us a lot. He had a very good relationship with the players who went up from the academy. Seeing him to the fullest in each training. Is there anything better to help a young person?”

Finally, the Fortuna Sittard star was asked about his fondest memory in Spain, to which he did not hesitate in naming his display at Barcelona’s iconic fortress.

“My first game at Camp Nou. It was a friendly. Hopefully one day I will return to La Liga,” he stated.

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