Football

United target: Don't call me 'the next Messi'

Ferguson missed out on Croatia international Modric (©GettyImages)
Ferguson missed out on Croatia international Modric (©GettyImages).

Manchester United transfer target Alen Halilovic has played down comparisons with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

The 16-year-old starlet has been likened to Messi, and the teen midfielder scored his first ever professional goal for Dinamo Zagreb after coming off the bench in his side's 4-1 win at NK Slaven Koprivnica.

The teenager signed a professional contract with Dinamo fourth months ago, and became the youngest player in Prva Liga history at the age of 16 years and 105 days.

Halilovic is reportedly being scouted by several of Europe's biggest clubs, and Manchester United are thought to have taken a keen interest.

Sir Alex Ferguson was monitoring Luka Modric before the former-Tottenham and Croatia international joined Real Madrid, and the Manchester United boss is unlikely to want to miss out on Modric's likely successor.

Halilovic has been labelled the most exciting Croatian talent since Modric, and his fast feet, eye for a pass and composed finishing has drawn comparison with Barcelona ace Messi.

But the Croatian teen has played down the similarities. "Just don't call me Messi, said Halilovic on UEFA.com.

"I admire Leo, but I am a long way from him. For now my goal is to play well and to show the coach he can count on me."

Manchester United are thought to lead the chase for the 16-year-old, and the Old Trafford side have a strong track record of bringing through young talent.

United forward Danny Welbeck and midfielder Tom Cleverley are the latest players to have graduated from academy to first-team with success.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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