Families in Football: Patrick and Justin Kluivert

Patrick and Justin Kluivert
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Welcome to Last Word on Football’s ‘Families in Football’ series. Over the next few weeks, we take a look at siblings, cousins, and even parents and children that have played the beautiful game. Some have played cup finals together while others have been on opposing sides. Today, we look at father and son, Patrick and Justin Kluivert.

Families in Football: Father and Son Patrick and Justin Kluivert

Patrick Kluivert

Part of Ajax’s “golden generation” of the mid-90s, Patrick Kluivert, along with the likes of Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf and Edwin van der Sar, took the Dutch league and Europe by storm. Kluivert scored his first senior goal as an 18-year-old in the Dutch Supercup. His first full season in the first team brought 18 goals in 25 games, a Dutch Championship, and the winning goal in the 1995 UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan.

The following season brought more success for the striker and his club as they retained the league title and Dutch Supercup as well as the UEFA Super Cup. A further 23 goals in all competitions to add to his first season tally of 21 saw Kluivert become one of the most feared strikers in Europe.

An injury-hit season, halted his progress but when his Ajax contract came to an end he was off to AC Milan to begin a new adventure. However, it wasn’t to turn out how he would have wished as the Rossoneri finished a lowly tenth, with Kluivert struggling to replicate his Ajax form with nine goals in 33 appearances.

Following just one season in Serie A, Kluivert was on the move again, this time to Spanish giants Barcelona, where he would enjoy a six-year spell with the Catalan club. Reunited with his former mentor Louis van Gaal, Kluivert began to find his goalscoring form again, forming a successful partnership with Brazilian star Rivaldo.

Although the goals flowed for the Dutchman, 122 in 257 games, trophies proved hard to come by with just one La Liga title arriving at the Camp Nou in his six seasons at the club.

Short spells at Newcastle United, Valencia, and PSV Eindhoven followed his release from Barcelona before ending his career at French club Lille. In total, Kluivert scored 205 goals in 468 club games.

International Career

An eventful international career began after he scored his first goal for the Netherlands in just his second appearance. The striker was a star as the team qualified for Euro 96 but he would struggle in the tournament due to a knee injury. In the 1998 World Cup, Kluivert was sent off against Belgium but helped his country reach the semi-finals when he scored in the quarter-finals against Argentina and in the losing effort against Brazil in the following round.

The 2000 European Championships jointly hosted by Belgium and Holland would bring Kluivert his most successful international tournament. Five goals, including a hat-trick in the quarter-final, helped the Dutch to the semi-finals where they would lose on penalties to Italy. He ended the tournament as joint top scorer.

Another semi-final appearance in the 2004 World Cup would signal his final appearance for the national team. He ended with 40 goals in 79 games. Until 2013, Kluivert was the Netherlands’ all-time leading goalscorer until being surpassed by Robin van Persie.

Justin Kluivert

Like his father, Justin Kluivert began his career at Ajax; however, instead of following in his father’s footsteps and being a striker, Justin is a winger. Having risen through the youth ranks at Ajax, Kluivert made his senior debut in January 2017 at 17-years-old and scored his first senior goal two months later.

Following just one-and-a-half seasons in the Ajax first team, he had impressed enough to not only earn a call up to the Dutch national team but also a big-money move to Serie A.

A phone call from Roma legend Francesco Totti to Justin’s father sealed an €18.5 million transfer. Soon after signing, Kluivert spoke of his delight to have sealed a move to Roma he said: “I’m at an unbelievable club and I can’t wait to start. I think Roma is a great club for me – I think they can build me into a bigger, stronger player and I can do some nice things here.”

Early in his first season in Italy, Kluivert made his mark when he became the club’s youngest-ever Champions League goalscorer. However, just like his father, his time in Italy has not worked out as he would have liked.

In Kluivert’s time at Roma, he worked under four different managers with the team struggling to break into the top four. His own form also dipped along with several injuries.

A year-long loan move to RB Leipzig failed to result in a permanent move with the former Ajax wonderkid now on a loan deal with an option to buy at French club Nice.

The youngster promised much when he broke onto the football scene as a teenager, however, a move away from his home failed to progress his career. Despite that, he is still only 22-years-old so he has time on his side to have a successful career.

Justin Has Done Something His Dad Couldn’t Do

While still a teenager, Justin Kluivert managed to do something that his prolific father could not achieve in his career. In 2017 Justin became the first Kluivert to score an Eredivisie hat-trick. His 40-minute trio helped Ajax beat Roda JC 5-1. Despite this Justin still has some way to go before he gets to the same heights as his father.

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