Former Barcelona forward Patrick Kluivert says his son Justin is likely to play in La Liga someday, but has advised the 18-year-old to keep developing at Ajax.
Six goals in 19 Eredivisie games this season for the Amsterdam side, as well as a repertoire of dazzling tricks on the ball, has seen Kluivert Jr. linked with a move to one of Europe’s elite, with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all reportedly keen on him.
Kluivert Sr., who won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 during his career, told Spanish radio show El Larguero that his son was “doing very well” but should be in no hurry to leave Ajax, while suggesting that for his style a move to La Liga might suit better than the Premier League.
“Justin is doing very well, and must keep going like this,” Kluivert said. “He must keep his feet on the ground. I’ve told him that he is still 18 and should be relaxed and for sure stay another year or more at Ajax. When you go to another country, another competition, you must be strong mentally and physically, you should not leave too early.
“Then whatever will arrive will arrive. It is difficult to say no to Barca, but also to other big teams, the most important is to choose a team which suits his style of team, not the team which pays more money. I see my son playing more in the Spanish league than in the Premier League, but it will be his choice.”
Kluivert Sr. spent the 2016-17 season as sporting director at Paris Saint-Germain, and said that his former side were slight favourites against Real Madrid in their upcoming Champions League round of 16 tie.
“Real Madrid have much more experience in the Champions League than PSG,” he said. “But PSG’s players are used to playing with a lot of pressure and a high intensity. It will be a clash of titans. I believe PSG will go through, based on how the teams are playing at the moment they are slight favourites.”
The former Netherlands international added that, for him, PSG’s attacking trio of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar had a better balance than Madrid’s “BBC” of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I believe PSG’s forwards have shown they are very, very potent trident who score a lot of goals,” Kluivert said. “Lately Cristiano has been scoring too, but if I would say PSG’s attackers work better together.”
However, Kluivert would not be drawn on whether Neymar would join Madrid in the future.
“[Neymar] has chosen PSG, and I believe he is happy there,” he said. “But in football you never know, so I cannot really answer that question.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan