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Former Barcelona prodigy opens up on struggles at club: “Luis Enrique didn’t want me there”

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Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images

Alen Halilovic was once regarded as one of the greatest midfield talents at Barcelona, as the former Dinamo Zagreb prodigy had joined the club with immense potential.

Halilovic joined Barça in the summer of 2014, convincing many that he has a higher ceiling than his compatriots Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

However, the youngster endured a forgettable spell at Barcelona and eventually left the club permanently in 2016.

In a recent interview, Halilovic has opened up about his poor spell at Barcelona, suggesting that he should have had patience.

“I thought that at Barça I deserved to play above Xavi and Iniesta. When you’re young you think you don’t have time. Looking back, I just needed to be patient,” he said (h/t The Athletic).

“I believed in myself but Barça also had a plan for me. That was the mistake I made. I didn’t follow the plan,” he added.

Talking about Barcelona’s plans, the midfielder revealed, “The plan was that the first year I was going to play for Barça B, then they would send me on loan to a club in La Liga and in the third year they would decide what to do with me.”

A lost talent (Photo by BRUNO FAHY/AFP via Getty Images)

Halilovic joined Hamburger SV in 2016, for a fee of around €5 million – a move that surprised many at the time.

When asked about his decision to leave Barcelona, Halilovic said, “The first two years were perfect at Barça, but I was hoping to get a chance in the first team in my 3rd season… But then I realised that Luis Enrique didn’t want me there.”

“In my 3rd season, Barça wanted to send me out on loan again. I didn’t want that, so I said ‘F*ck it, I’m leaving’,” he added.

Halilovic went on to reveal that he was supposed to stay at Barcelona for one more year, but after being omitted from Croatia’s Euro 2016 squad, he was left heartbroken.

“I was supposed to stay one more year at Barça because I was doing so well. I was hoping to go to the EURO with the national team, but I wasn’t called up and Barça decided I had to go out on loan again, so I was a bit frustrated with everything,” the midfielder said.

After leaving Barcelona in 2016, Halilovic endured botched spells at HSV, AC Milan and even English club Birmingham.

Halilovic currently plies his trade for Dutch outfit Fortuna Sittard. He is a permanent fixture in the starting eleven there, with 19 appearances in all competitions.

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