Now, Barcelona is the World’s most popular football team, mainly thanks to players such are Messi, Xavi, Iniesta or Villa. 11 or 12 years ago, Barcelona hadn’t the same charisma, but surely showed also a very beautiful football. Thanks’ to Figo, Rivaldo, Guardiola, Luis Enrique or Kluivert. And speaking of the Dutch striker… Who, from the new generation of football lovers remembers him? Kluivert is now only 36 years old, but already a coach. A quite small one, at FC Twente youth squad and an assistant at the national football squad of Netherlands, but still, a coach! 14 years behind, the Dutchman was signing with Barcelona, club at which he spent six seasons from his career. Born on 1st of July 1976, at Amsterdam, the capital city of Netherlands, Patrick was only 22 years old, but managed to develop a quite large CV. Two Dutch championships with Ajax and even a Champions League, in 1995, with the side which was led then by Louis Van Gaal! After that, he went on playing for a season at AC Milan, but proved not to be a viable solution for the Italian giants, so they let him leave quickly.
So, Barcelona took advantage and hired him. Even though in those years the Catalans didn’t win anything but a League title in 1999, Kluivert, alongside the players mentioned above developed a very beautiful style of playing which seduced all Europe. Patrick played a total of 255 official matches for Barcelona and scored 120 goals. That was the highest peak of his career which took a continuous fall after 24. He was only 28 years old, but things never remained the same. A season each at Newcastle, Valencia, PSV and Lille might have been his salvation, but nor proved to be so. So, in 2008, at only 32 years, he decided to renounce appearing on the football field as a professional player.
A player that didn’t win many trophies at club level and none with the national team of Netherlands, Kluivert still remains a top figure in the history of his native country because he remains the best top scorer from all time. Since 1994, at his debut, when he was 18, until 2004, when he just made it to his 28th anniversary, the striker gathered 40 goals 79 appearances! In fact, his last netted ball came at the age of 27!! So, the record looks more impressive this way for sure. The most prolific year was 2000, when Patrick put in 10 goals in 12 matches! Now, only two active players might overpass him: Huntelaar with 34 goals at the moment and Van Persie, with 31. Still they are not very young so the record might resist a few years more, maybe even decades. So, if you’re asking me, this achievement for a national squad that played three World Cup finals in its history and which had players such were Cruyff, Bergkamp or Van Nistelrooy, is a unique one!