How the Promised Son has fallen. Alen Halilović is now 26 years old and his footballing career isn’t exactly shaping up the way it was supposed to. In 2014, Barcelona purchased Halilović from Dinamo Zagreb as the wunderkind was dubbed the “Croatian Arjen Robben.” Over the years, Halilović quickly turned into a wunder-bust.
After becoming a journeyman across Europe over the past decade, playing for a total of nine teams (mostly on loan), Halilović decided to come home and play for Rijeka in the summer of 2022. Unfortunately, the jump start his career needed did not happen in Croatia as he only scored one goal in eight appearances for Rijeka. With things quickly going south, a transfer to Greek club Aris, was all but agreed upon during the latest winter transfer period, which ended January 31st. And now Halilović is homeless without a team to play for. (see Tweet below)
It’s only gotten worse through the years for the kid who never rose to the occasion with his play or attitude. He has not scored more than one goal in a season since scoring twice for Las Palmas in 2017-2018.
Could he turn it around? Of course he can. Halilović, in his heyday, could cut up the field with his dribbles and had a mean, curling left-footed shot that would find the back of the net at least once a season. But he was never consistent after leaving Dinamo Zagreb and got shipped across Europe year after year: Sporting Gijon, Hamburg, Las Palmas, Standard Liege, Herenveen, Birmingham, Reading, and finally Rijeka.
So what now? At 26 years old, he can still ball for another 5-6 years…but that’s only if he can turn it around. So where does he need to land to start the Halilović Resurgence?
It won’t be at a top-5 European league. That’s out of the question. He couldn’t score more than one goal this season in the Croatian Prva Liga. He’s already played in Belgium and the Netherlands.
So what’s the answer: MLS.
Below: Halilović’s social media response to why this week’s transfer fell through with Greek side, Aris.
Just watched my first Dinamo game and christ I didn’t realize the quality of football was so poor. I swear the MLS has higher levels of football. Both teams could barely string together any attacks and all balls into the box were wasted.
Also can’t believe Petkovic can play worse than he does for the national team. Every time the man touched the ball he would immediately give it away. After watching that shitshow I’m genuinely surprised the league can produce so many high-quality players.
Why would you be surprised?
This is the reason why the HNL produces so many good players.
They give development minutes to their youth in league games, and they go through the growing pains for the long term gains.
Dinamo started a central midfield with two very inexperienced kids in it (Baturina and Bulat). It was Bulat’s first ever start, and the first time he’s ever put in a full 90 minutes. He only played injury time minutes before today. Baturina has also only ever had a handful of 90-minutes games himself too.
It’s obviously going to be a big risk playing two very scrawny and inexperienced players (especially at the same time) but it will be worth it when these guys are sold for 20 million+ Euro within two years.
The rest of the Dinamo players probably just had an off-game. These guys played pretty well in Champions League and it’s not as if guys like Sutalo, Ademi, Ristovski, Moharrami are suddenly bush league players. They’re all still better than MLS players.
Guys go through the motions in some of these league games, which is why the top teams in the world (with limitless funds) always build crazy deep 18-man squads with a ton of depth.
The HNL can’t afford to do this, and will always be a development league.
Unlike the HNL, MLS teams are “all in” and pay players million to win now…and the league still sucks. They claims that they want to develop youth, but they don’t have the coaches for it.
If only 3-4 of those guys can turn into something for the repka we are definitely ok going forward
Especially with some more development of the youth on the squad already
Could use another LB back up with sosa. Rb looks solid nuff with JJ and stanisic. Of course more would be cool. We know we are pretty solid at CB
Majer has room to grow. Kova really Coming into his own in position at repka. Broz just stay healthy.
Vidovic seems to be close to ready for Mins
sucic look like quite close to being ready to get proper mins
Dion, simic ljubicic obviously as well have been talked about more over on the site
Is vuskovic gonna be back from the juicing scandal soon? Or is he already?
The rest for me are lesser knowns
But I trust some of what you guys say about them so looking forward to hearing more about them
I think the DFB will tell if he is found guilty with doping either Late Feb or March, it’s gonna be a very hard one for him to try get out of considering they are so strict in Germany.
Can he move leagues?
Barisic sighting as well. Scored the winner in the 75th for his Rangers side.
When you don’t abide by the tenets of a ZDS lifestyle, this is what happens…
The guy spent every interview pumping up Bosna over Croatia, and repping his favorite team FK Sarajevo (a team that has nothing to do with him or even his dad).
He probably should have focused his attention on Dinamo Zagreb and what they were trying to teach him.
He played in the development systems of both Dinamo (and then Barcelona) while he and his dad were hiring their own training staff (against the team’s wishes) thinking they were smarter than everyone.
Now that they messed all this up, He should probably sign with his beloved FK Sarajevo now…if they’ll even have him.
The god of hailovic will save Real salt lake like a Mormon prophet!!
Mark my words;)
Compared to his other option of running a roadside tourist stand in Bosnia, selling homemade Honey, Cherry Liqueur, water shoes, Medjugorje Rosary Bead necklaces, this was not too shabby.
Freddie Adu 2
On a brighter note, Dion Beljo is in the starting lineup for Augsberg this afternoon.
Didn’t score 🙁
Well this is why i always warn about the hype of the youth
What always interests me about halilo-shit is that it seemed like he was actually productive early on at places like gijon, las palmas etc and had a talent that was very noticeable and difficult to replicate. Go look at his early on highlight clips, and he was clearly able to carry the ball and put a lot of pressure on defenses. Granted his one footed ness made sosa look ambidextrous.
Also, many of the places halilo -shit has gone, they’ve been interested in him staying like in Spain or England
So i find it interesting that he has devolved from a competent and dangerous 18 year old in Spain to a 0 as a 26 year old on rijeka
There was one a time when it looked like our cup was going to runneth over at wing. For a generation, halilo-shit, marko pee-ass-a , josip bust-a-lo, ante re-bitch , and antoni-oh-no-he-sucks marin duking it out for who starts for the checkers
Now instead we play a 33 year old perisic and Striker kramaric on the wing
True, that he could have just stayed in Birmingham or Reading or wherever it was. He was offered a contract extension. He could have been in the Championship playing against legit competition, for legit fans, and with legit rewards for winning!
Ultimately, he and his individualistic style of play could work in the American game. Fans in the US love that fancy dribbling and shot-taking. Halilović’s problem is that he has a lot of skill (even showed it briefly at Rijeka), but he isn’t a team player. He won’t be producing assists or creating chances. He can hold possession and score goals off brilliant plays, but it has to be by himself. He doesn’t really interact with the team. He doesn’t really defend. It’s OK for second division teams because one really skilled player can make a difference at that level, but it doesn’t work in first-tier football, where results depend on strong teams (Osasuna this year is a perfect example).
He’s also a puny and weak little guy who gets pushed off the ball too easily.
The whole “Modric” comparison largely came from the fact that Halilovic was short and had that shaggy blonde hair like Modric. He was nothing like Modric.
Modric is strong and resilient. You can’t get the ball off him easily. He’s like Wolverine in terms of body type…short, but freakishly strong. Halilovic (even in his best years at Gijon) fell all the time and spent more time diving than actually playing. Too easy to stop him.
That is the issue with him. Not a smart guy, and made dumb decisions that worked against his development.
All the wingers you mentioned are missing that mental element, or they were just badly injured (like in Pjaca’s case) and it ruined their career.
It’s pretty standard, and this is why it’s important that we are a country that produces a LOT of talent. Some won’t pan out, despite having all the talent in the World.
Right now, we have several young strikers (I’m sure we’ll have a few more coming up over the next couple of years too). I expect them to mostly fail. That’s expected. But if one of them turns out good, maybe two, then you’re good.
Don’t know what happened to Halilovic.
Most of the players born in ’95,’ 96 and 1997 seem to be struggling, some due to injuries, some due to they’re not good enough. Was not a good mini-generation for us.
Pasalic is ok, coming of the bench guy scoring an important goal here and there. Status: bench player
Vlasic might be the best of the bunch as a 1997 as he’s not exactly tearing up any league except the Russian one. Status: useful
Marko Rog, 1995, not really doing much of anything. Status: Done
Benkovic, 1997, plays in German 2 nuff said. Status: probably never see checkers again.
Pjaca, 1995. This one hurts because he was probably the best of those 3 years before devastating injuries caught up to him. Status: almost done.
Caleta-Car, decent player, will make a nice living, but probably won’t start for us again barring injury to our fresh back 4.
It was not a good 3 years, some due to injuries, some due to bad moves at an early age(Halilovic) and some not good enough.
The ’98’s will have 2 starters at least. Sosa and Majer and who knows who else maybe Musa.
Halilovic should start thinking about getting a real job and move on from football because it looks like it’s not for him.
Forgot about Ante Coric and Andrija Balic. Not progressing. Not a good 3 years for us.
Best of the bunch from those 3 years and I can’t believe I forgot about him is ’95 Josip Juranovic unless I’m missing someone else.
Rog is still a key piece at Cagliari. It’s a second-tier club right now, but mainly because they count on Rog to win them games, and he has spent most of his career badly injured. The fact that he can keep coming back from surgeries and put in quality performances is impressive, but it certainly isn’t a healthy lifestyle! I feel sorry for the guy. I also feel sorry for Pjaca, moreso because he doesn’t seem to be as resilient as Rog. He still looked good at Torino last year, but he just isn’t getting the minutes this year.
@TGAD . Oh I agree with you. It seems those 3 years it seems everyone was snake-bitten at some point. Juranovic and Vlasic (jury is still out on him) are the exceptions.
It’s not going to be linear, where you get an even amount of prospects every year.
If you include the next year (1998) you end up with Majer, Sosa, Erlic and our upcoming golden boy Petar Musa. 🙂
There are a lot of bubble players too from that year like Brekalo, Moro, Ivanusec, etc.
Pretty damn good considering it’s just one year.
The 2002-born lineup could be scary with both Gvardiol and Sučić born that year. If Ljubičić and Beljo pan out as capable strikers, that could be the year that pretty much gives us our best player in every area of the field.
Yup. That’s why I mentioned the ’98’s in a previous post.
My main point I guess is that those 3 years’ 95,’96,and 1997 were snake-bitten with injuries and perhaps bad club moves when not ready etc.
It’s a shame. I was just imagining a healthy Pjaca in Quatar and firing on all cylinders, he would be up top with Perisic and Majer slightly behind roaming and providing those two.
It would change our formation to a 4-3-1-2 and we wouldn’t have to play our strikers at all. I wonder how that would of played out.
But yes Maminjo it’s not linear for prospects. The 2002’s could be the deadliest.
pre-injury Pjaca in WC2018 would’ve been nice too.
Orsic and DCC were put in Southampton’s B team today: https://twitter.com/SouthamptonFC/status/1621486156755144705?t=XpHuzT1va2L7hzDqKTzzzA&s=19
Maybe they really want that silverware, as some consolation for potentially getting relegated.
Some players continue to develop while others hit a plateau too early. One big reason that holds players back that we only hear about if they hit a disastrous bottom is sex, drugs, and rock and roll (drugs includes alcohol). I certainly don’t know anything about Halilović’s private life, but its possibly a contributing factor?
He just cannot play versus full grown men.
I would always buy Halilovic and Ødegaard many years back in pes and get Halilovic overall to aleast 90. Fun times. I think he’s got a brother who plays aswell. The one player I always wonder about is Kranjcar. To me in his early years he looked as good as Godric but ended up falling well short. Then their are players like Brozovic, who I never knew about and all of a sudden hes this increadible beast of a DMF. It was exactly what Croatia was missing at the time. Broz, Mod and Rakitic are great individual players but its incredible how well they worked together. It was just meant to be.
Yeah he has a cousin (Tibor Halilović) who is actually pretty good and doing well at Heerenveen.
If he were younger he’d be an interesting prospect for us.
There is also a Denis Halilović out there somewhere.
Maybe you mean Dino Halilović?
He is Alen’s younger brother who’s father insisted that Barcelona include him in their youth system as part of the Alen Halilovic deal, but they said NOPE, ha ha.
As the believers’ faith has declined…
stupidity intensity has risen }}
We didn’t realize how lucky we were.
Since we reject our Messiah – Halilovic
and many of you engage in idolatry _o)
call them a world-class| such delusional
Why are people seeking fulfillment
instead of believing our Messiah?
This again?!! I mean..
Halilovic was dubbed Croatian Messi and Brekalo was dubbed Croatian Robben.
Watched a lot of their matches at youth level. With Halilovic, I always thought that he was overrated, the guy was a hog and extremely selfish. However, to be honest I’m surprised that he has been a total flop and I don’t think that he can resurrect his playing career to any lofty heights.
With Brekalo it is different he was a superb player at youth level and TV commentators were calling him Croatian Robben. Brekalo was quick, exceptional dribbler and regular goal scorer. Unfortunately, at senior level he is just an average player and nowhere as good as Arjen Robben. I think he made the mistake of going at 18 to Wolfsburg and it would have been better if he had stayed at Dinamo for another couple of years before heading overseas. Poor decisions in choosing clubs have been costly for him and he has not realised the potential that he had as a youth player.
It’s the mental aspect with them.
Kranjčar was a spoiled kid who didn’t care much for football;
Halilović doesn’t have that Croatian pride to fuel his career (he grew up admiring too much of that Bosna crap from his dad); and
Brekalo seems to be too arrogant and has attitude problems
Brekalo should be okay if comes back down to Earth, but he lowered his ceiling and now there are younger players coming up (like Vidović) so it looks like he’s going to have to work harder.
Hellovoshit peaked early in high school and that was all it was ever going to be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now it’s just a long down hill for his career that never started.
It happens all the time in sports…
Big time dominating highly scouted college basketball players that are top draft picks turn out to be huge duds in the NBA. 💣
He couldn’t and can’t take it to the next level of competition. He’s a FLOP, a Bust, a wipe out and a complete waste of time!
It’s just that he was sooooooo hyped!! Looked like he had so much potential! So much skill? But it’s just like I said before he’s a super star high schooler that sucks at the next level of competition. Maybe he should become a high school soccer coach somewhere? IDK maybe he was a party boy and did some “bunk” tabs at a cheesy euro rave and was never the same after? We will probably never no the real reason of why he sucked so hard after having so much promise. It’s all excuses now…
But no one should ever waste another minute waiting for this man child to become anything other than a backup off the bench third string MLS (ante’s recommendation) minute waster or water boy! I had hopes the first time I heard about this joker but it’s obvious for a long time this man kid has a lot of issues. Like his latest “verbal” agreement/ medical clearance drama. WTF?
This guy should be in a soap opera or maybe in the Croatian version of high school musical where a 26 year old
man-boy still pretends he’s in high school and runs around and sings for attention!! 😂😂
Final answer: Turn around what ?
He 😷 stinks.