This weekend’s El Clasico will be a special one for the Miami Blaugrana Penya. Courtesy of ESPN+, former Blaugrana star Patrick Kluivert will be making an appearance at 77 Sportbar where fans can meet and have their photos taken with the Dutch and Barça legend and with the Spanish league trophy and the official Spanish league ball.
Patrick Kluivert was in Amsterdam Holland where he was an Ajax Amsterdam youth graduate. Kluivert made worldwide headlines when, at the age of 18, he scored the game winner for Ajax in 1995 UEFA Champions League Final against AC Milan. To this day, he is still the youngest goal scorer in Champions League Finals history.
Kluivert joined Milan in 1997 and a year later, he joined FC Barcelona where he would go on to play for the Blaugrana for six seasons. He helped Barça win the league title in 1998 and overall, he would go on to score 122 goals in all competitions for the Blaugrana.
At the time when he joined Barça, Kluivert was a feared striker who also excelled for the Dutch national team who reached the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 tournaments. He was joint top scorer at Euro 2000 with five goals.
Unfortunately, Kluivert’s time with the club coincided during a horrible time for the club, where success was scarce. Nonetheless, he was also there to usher in the new era of success for Barça. Kluivert was one of the veterans of the 2003-2004, alongside Luis Enrique, Phillip Cocu, and Marc Overmars and the new signings of Ronaldinho, Rafa Marquez and Giovanni van Bronckhorst while the likes of Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta and Víctor Valdés got to blossom and combined helped kickstart an era of success that would soon follow.
Barça had a nightmare start to their 2003-2004 season that saw them lose 1-2 to Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in a league match for the first time in 29 years. Kluivert scored Barça’s lone goal that night. Barça were struggling and were nowhere near the top four in La Liga. However, the wind of changes commenced on January 25, 2004 when Barça defeated Sevilla away 1-0 with Kluivert being the goal scoring hero after scoring a remarkable header goal. The team would go on a 9-game winning streak and ultimately enjoy a 17-game unbeaten league streak during the second half of the season. That streak also featured Barça’s come from behind 2-1 win against Real Madrid in the Spanish capital with Kluivert scoring the equalizer header goal before the current Barça manager, Xavi, scored the game winner.
Barça would come up just short and finish second that season and Kluivert would leave the club and join Newcastle United. However, for those who watched Kluivert play for Barça, we got to see a spectacular speedy striker who was dangerous in the air and with his feet and also was a superb playmaker who assisted the likes of Rivaldo and Luis Enrique. My all-time favorite Barça performance from Patrick Kluivert was in the Blaugrana’s 5-1 extra-time victory over Chelsea in the 1999-2000 Champions League second leg of the Quarterfinals where he struck the woodwork twice, had a goal disallowed after he was fouled inside the box and the referee decided to award a penalty instead, before scoring the club’s fifth goal from another memorable header.
After retiring from the game, Kluivert has coached and was the club’s academy director for the last couple of years. He also features for the Barcelona Legends team. Miami Blaugrana Penya is honored that Patrick Kluivert will be making an appearance at 77 Sportbar where fans can meet and have their photos taken with the Dutch and Barça legend and with the Spanish league trophy and the official Spanish league ball.