Dinamo Zagreb teenager Alen Halilovic has spoken for the first time about being linked with a move to Manchester United and being compared to Barcelona great Lionel Messi.

The 16-year-old midfielder has emerged as one of the most promising talents in Croatia and is the star of the Zagreb youth team where he already plays regularly for the Under-19-side.

Alen Halilovic
Halilovic has been compared with Barcelona hero Lionel Messi [Reuters]

Halilovic has recently been linked with a possible move to Manchester United, but he is keen to distance himself from such rumours as he first attempts to become a regular in the Zagreb first team.

"Stories about Manchester United? I do not spend much time thinking about those rumours. Dinamo Zagreb will decide what happens," Halilovic is quoted as saying in The Mirror.

"All I have to do is try to improve as much as I can - everything else does not matter now."

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has always been keen to sign the best youth players from around world football and this summer invested in two future stars in Nick Powell and Angelo Henriquez.

Ferguson was also believed to have been interested in the youngster's fellow Croatian midfielder, Luka Modric, but the former Tottenham man decided to join Real Madrid rather than move to Old Trafford.

Halilovic is considered the finest talent to emerge from Croatia since Modric. However he is rarely compared to the Madrid midfielder, and is instead likened to Barcelona superstar Messi.

Despite these generous comparisons, the teenage midfielder insists that people are simply getting carried away.

"I read in the newspapers that I look like Leo Messi when I play, but I think the comparison is simply exaggerated!" added Halilovic.

"Messi is a role model for many young players, but I do not know if everyone can be like him."

Zagreb will be desperate to keep hold of the midfielder and they have even named him in their Champions League squad, though he is yet to appear in European competition for the Croatian side.

See the youngster in action below.