Halilovic makes Hamburger SV switch

Xavi, Al Sadd head coach expects a tough game with Al Nassr

Hamburger SV have announced the signing of Croatia international playmaker Alen Halilovic on a four-year deal from Barcelona.

The 20-year-old joins the Bundesliga side for a cut-price fee of €5 million but the Blaugrana do have an option of re-signing the former Dinamo Zagreb midfielder within the next two seasons for €10m.

Hamburger SV CEO Dietmar Beiersdorfer admitted they were delighted to be able to secure one of Europe’s brightest talents, who completed the third most dribbles in La Liga last season – behind Neymar and Lionel Messi.

“He is an outstanding talent,” Beiersdorfer told the club’s official website. “He feels situations, he feels the game. We are very pleased to welcome him.”

Halilovic conceded that he confided in one of his compatriots about the move and also spoke of his choice of an iconic number of a former club legend.

“HSV is a great club, I’ve spoken with my [international] team-mate Milan Badelj. He has only told me good things, and now I can’t wait to get going. We have a strong team here, and I hope that I can help continue to develop this team.

“I know that 23 has a special meaning. Rafael van der Vaart was a great player for the club, and picking the number felt right for me.”

Halilovic scored five goals and registered as many assists in 37 games while on loan at Sporting Gijon last term.