Rayco Garcia, The Man Behind Kluivert’s New Role at La Masia

Philip Lawer Alimo, International Freelance Sports Journalist

Barcelona, July 26, 2019 – Former Netherlands international Patrick Kluivert, 43 rejoined Barcelona as director of their youth system having signed a two-year contract with the club on Thursday. Kluivert had been assistant coach of Cameroon under fellow Dutchman Clarence Seedorf, but the pair were relieved of their duties earlier this month after the defending champions were eliminated in the round of 16 at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Patrick 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 called.

Rayco Garcia, the Director of RG Sports Solutions speaking in an exclusive interview with me shortly after the signing ceremony described the appointment of Patrick Kluivert as the director of La Masia as “something really important for the new generations of footballers trying to reach first team of FC Barcelona in the near future. Patrick is a disciple of Johan Cruijff, one of the main creators of this concept, working with a specific methodology to develop players first as humans and as good football players based specially on the possession of the ball. Patrick understands very well this concept due to his formative years in Ajax first and then on the first team of FC Barcelona. For a club like FC Barcelona to have a person that understand this vision is really important, not only from the sport angle but also from the financial angle. With him we will discover the next Andres Iniesta or Xavi. I’m sure about that.”|

Rayco, the former FC Barcelona and Leeds United player whose playing career was cut short by injury, played alongside Patrick during their time in Barcelona and has been very instrumental in the appointment of his former colleague Kluivert. “I have first of all a friendship with Patrick. Since I started he has been always on my side supporting me in all my projects and I look at him as an old brother. Today, life have given me the chance to give him a little bit back and I have worked hard to give him this new opportunity in his football career as a director of La Masia” he said.

Former Barcelona player Patrick Kluivert rejoined the club as director of their youth academy La Masia on a two-year deal

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 Dutch international and currently plays for Italian giants Roma.

Patrick speaking after the signing ceremony indicated that “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.” Officials of Barcelona are optimistic that Patrick will excel in this role. “I told him something before we signed the contract yesterday. Be yourself Patrick, the same way you inspired me to be a better person and a better professional, you will inspire new generations to reach to the top” said Rayco Garcia.


    1. …not if they play like Kluivert did during his 1997-98 season at Milan 🙂

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