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Kluivert joins Barcelona as head of youth academy

Patrick Kluivert starred as a player at Barcelona © AFP/File / LLUIS GENE

BARCELONA, Spain, Jul 25 Former Netherlands international Patrick Kluivert rejoined Barcelona on Thursday as director of their youth system.

Kluivert, 43, signed a two-year contract, the club announced in a statement.

Kluivert had been assistant coach of Cameroon under fellow Dutchman Clarence Seedorf, but the pair were fired earlier this month after the defending champions were eliminated in the round of 16 at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Kluivert played six seasons at the Camp Nou, from 1998 to 2004, scoring 145 goals in 308 appearances and winning one La Liga title.

“I am very happy to be back home and looking forward to this new era, with the challenge of keeping Barca among the top teams in the world,” he told the Catalans’ website after the announcement confirming he would be taking over at ‘La Masia’, as the Barcelona youth academy is known.

Kluivert started his career at Ajax where he became the youngest scorer in a Champions League final as an 18-year-old. He played 79 times for the Netherlands, scoring 40 goals.

He has been an assistant coach for the Dutch national team and at several clubs in his home country, including a youth coach at Ajax. He was also briefly director of football at Paris Saint-Germain. His son Justin, 20, is a Netherlands international and plays for Roma.

“I grew up at the Ajax academy, which is very similar to La Masia, and I think I can do a lot for the development of young Barca players,” he said.

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