Sometimes in a footballers career injury, wrong transfer move or psychological issue could cause a player’s career to nosedive. Same as media hype and huge fans expectations could also be a measuring tools used in overestimating their talent or potential.
In this piece on Sportyleagues, we’ll look at the rise and fall of a young magician from Dubrovnik who promised a lot with his talent but fails to deliver.
Having once touted as the future of Croatia and Barcelona’s midfield, the former Dinamo Zagreb has watched his career slid from been the next Luca Modric to a player whose career has taken him to the Championship with Birmingham City.
Halilovic trajectory started from his country club, Dinamo Zagreb where he burst to the scene at the tender age of 16. He made his debut for the team in the “Eternal Derby” between Dinamo and Hajduk Split when he replaced Sammir in the last ten minutes of the match.
Having made his debut at such a tender age, in that sense the touted next Modric became the youngest debutant in the history of club at the age of 16, and 101 days. During his rise at Dinamo Zagreb he set all kinds of records with the Citizens, as such the hopes of the fans were catapulted into seeing him in the mode of Modric and the future of Croatia national team.
When a player display great potential as a young footballer, the usual thing is for him to move to a bigger team that could help him become a superstar. In 2014, Halilovic made a decision in joining one of biggest club in Spain, after reaching an agreement with Barcelona at the start of the summer window signing a five year contract for an initial amount of €2.2 million.
He made his debut for the Blaugrana in 2015, replacing Adama Traore who now plies his trade in the Premier League with Wolverhampton.
Following his debut with Barcelona, many thought he’s next in line for the future of the Blaugrana’s midfield, unfortunately the hype and pressure of stepping into such a big role at a club as massive as Barcelona was way too big for him to shoulder.
What comes after his debut was loan after loan to Gijon, then to Hamburg permanently for €5.5 million with a buy back clause for Barcelona worth €10 million, then to Las Palmas on loan, to Milan on a free transfer, to Standard Liege where the loan was cancelled and finally to SC Heerenven on loan in 2019.
Following the abandonment of the Eredivisie due to the effect of the virus, he returned to Milan before his contract with the Rossonerri was later terminated by mutual consent. Having left Milan by mutual consent, the Croatia international was club less until Aitor Karanka and Birmingham City came to his rescue.
Halilovic showed the capacity to become a world class player with Dinamo Zagreb which transferred him Camp Nou, but with his career taking a huge slid it seems the magician from Dubrovnik might not be able to fulfill his true potential having gone from playing for a big team in Barcelona to Birmingham City in the English Championship.
With his move to the Saint Andrew side at 24 to get his career back on track, there is this believe that he could still turn things around having found his way to the Championship, with less pressure and the huge hype of been the next big star for Croatia football off his back even though his signing is a significant gamble for the Aitor Karanka’s Championship side.
However, there is confidence in Karanka’s know how and ability to get the former Barcelona’s youngster career back on top, and the good thing is that his still relatively very young but then with all the media hype that comes with his trajectory he should be playing for a bigger club in the topflight league and not a team in the second tier.
Halilovic did actually impressed back in Spain, while his trip to Hamburg in Germany and Milan weren’t convincing. Looking back at his stint with Dinamo Zagreb where he showed the potential of been a world class player which made top clubs want to steal him for the respective teams.
It would be pretty harsh to suggest that Halilovic at 24 is with Birmingham City for his last hooray, however if the Croatian can’t succeed at Saint Andrew in the second tier of English football, where else is he going to succeed? A million dollars question that need a quick answer from the man himself if he fails to get back his career on track.