From his early days with Ajax to his pomp at Barcelona, and even beyond, Patrick Kluivert played alongside some of European football’s all-time greats.
So it must have been a tough choice for the Paris Saint-Germain director of football to narrow down the selection to form his dream team for The Fantasy Football Club on Sky Sports.
While he only won a single league title during his time with Barcelona, where he averaged close to a goal every two games, there is a heavy Catalan influence in Kluivert’s XI.
Former Ajax and Dutch international team-mates also make the cut for a team which would line up in a 4-3-3, but there is no room for any of his Newcastle team-mates from his one season in English football on Tyneside.
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Patrick Kluivert won the Champions League with Ajax as they beat AC Milan in 1995
GOALKEEPER: Edwin van der Saar
It’s obvious I would choose Edwin van der Saar, I played with him at Ajax and with the national team and he is simply the all-round best goalkeeper.
He can play with the ball so he means we have 11 footballers in the team, but of course he’s a match-winning save goalkeeper, which is very important to have in your team.
Kluivert played with Edwin van der Saar for both Ajax and the Dutch national team
DEFENDER: Michael Reiziger
I played with Michael for Ajax, Barcelona and the Dutch national team and he was actually a midfielder, switched to be a right back. He was quick, making him very difficult to defeat and offensively very strong.
At right back he is very much the one who stands out in his position.
Michael Reiziger is another player who represented both club and country alongside Kluivert
DEFENDER: Marcel Desailly
I played with Marcel at AC Milan but I also played against him in the Champions League. He’s a great defender and is quick, strong and very good in the air. He’s a solid man, really solid.
Also in that position is Jaap Stam. The Dutch rock, they call him. He’s exactly the same defensively as Marcel Desailly so I could have picked him as well.
Marcel Desailly was a team-mate during Kluivert’s time in Italy with AC Milan
DEFENDER: Frank de Boer
He wasn’t the quickest but he could read the game very well.
Frank also had a very good left foot so he could get the ball to the right-sided player.
For me he was an amazing defender.
Frank de Boer celebrates with Kluivert after the striker’s goal against France at Euro 2000
DEFENDER: Paolo Maldini
He’s a two-footed player, more left but he could also go over well onto his right foot.
Very good defensively and good offensively, too, and also a very good team player. He’s also a great person.
Paolo Maldini was a rock for AC Milan during his career and made an impact on Kluivert
Patrick Kluivert’s career dream team
MIDFIELDER: Pep Guardiola
Pep was an amazing player, like the conductor of an orchestra.
Barcelona had a lot of ball possession and with him in the team he knew where he wanted to play the ball before he even received the ball.
I also have Xavi, Xavi Hernandez, who was like the new Guardiola. When Pep left the position was directly filled by Xavi.
They were both fantastic, talented players.
In reality I could probably do the best 22 players because in each position I can put two players.
I also haven’t mentioned Dennis Bergkamp or Marc Overmars, who was there when I started at Ajax and came from Go Ahead Eagles. I had a very good relationship with him.
Louis van Gaal talks to Pep Guardiola during Barcelona training, he’s another to make the team
MIDFIELDER: Clarence Seedorf
I grew up with him at Ajax and he’s quick, powerful and has a fantastic shot with his left foot. He was one of the best professionals I could imagine.
He’s also a great human being, a great person and a great personality. That’s exactly what you need.
Kluivert and Clarence Seedorf stretch before training ahead of a game in Scotland
Ronaldinho is one of the best I played with in Barcelona and he had everything.
He had speed, skill and was strong. He was a great dribbler with great technique. For him playing football meant he laughed all the time.
If you press him, he will turn you, if you’re face-to-face he will dribble past you. We had great teamwork together because I knew if I made a movement the ball was there.
Ronaldinho is one of Barcelona’s greatest players. He’s also made Kluivert’s dream team
FORWARD: Luis Figo
Luis was another I played in Barcelona with and he took a lot of set pieces, mainly from the left side where he could serve with his right foot and curl it into the top corner.
Like Ronaldinho you knew that if you made the movement the ball would be there, and I scored the goals. He doesn’t need much explanation.
Luis Figo was another of Kluivert’s Barca team-mates, before he switched to Real Madrid
There’s not much you really need to say about Rivaldo.
Players of his calibre are amazing to play with. They are players who let the other players play better. He took the free-kicks from the other side and he was fascinating to play with.
From my point of view when he was on the left, or the right, we just needed to have eye contact and the ball was there. He knew where I was running and it was just there to tap in.
Brazilian forward Rivaldo, left, puts his arms around his teamate Kluivert at Barcelona
FORWARD: Patrick Kluivert
Of course I have to play in the middle! It’s a fantasy team and I have to play in it.
I’ve played with a lot of great strikers in my team and I would say Javier Saviola and Ruud van Nistelrooy, those kind of players and their quality is undisputed but are very good team players.
I like that, not only to be selfish but to also look at which player is better placed to score a goal.
And of course, the man himself will lead the line for his own dream team