of Birth: July 1, 1976
Bought by AC Milan from Ajax as a natural heir to Marco Van Basten after scoring scoring the winning goal for Ajax Amsterdam in the 1995 European Cup final as a fresh-faced teenager. Of Surinamese descent, he joined Ajax's famed youth programme at seven and, with his strength and skill with both feet, broke into the first team 11 years later. He also made his international debut at 18 and scored three goals in his first six games. But just months after he danced a boyish jig with the European Cup, he was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and convicted. His hero Frank Rijkaard had strongly advised Kluivert to ignore offers from top Italian clubs because he was too young, but in February 1997 he moved to AC Milan. Kluivert had a miserable first year at Milan, scoring just six league goals and he was frequently whistled at by fans. During the season he was also accused of raping a Dutch woman with three other men, but the charges were soon dropped. Kluivert rediscovered his form at World Cup '98, where he scored vital goals against Argentina and Brazil as the Netherlands reached the semifinals. In particular, his goal in the 2-1 quarter-final defeat of Argentina, one of the finest of France '98, reminded soccer fans of a huge natural talent that has so often been obscured by headlines about his private life. Signed a four-year deal with Barca in August '98, moving from AC Milan for $13.8 million. "I'm convinced I can be successful at this club," says Kluivert. "I had a tough time at Milan because I was accustomed to playing with three strikers and they had only two. I was also expected to play on the wing and I really prefer to play in the centre. I wasn't comfortable with the atmosphere at Milan and that was reflected on the pitch."
|1997/1998||AC Milan||Serie A||27||6|