Ajax's Justin Kluivert is not put off by comparisons to his father, Patrick, and he's earning quite the reputation in his own right.
Patrick Kluivert was 18 when he scored the winning goal for Ajax in the 1995 Champions League final against Juventus. His son, Justin, plays in a different position–a winger who can play on either flank–but is hoping to make an impact in a European final at the same age later this month, when Ajax takes on Manchester United in the Europa League final.
Kluivert is not put off by comparisons to his dad; he says he likes it because he’s proud of the career Patrick had. He’s also tough mentally, shrugging off coach Peter Bosz’s decision to sub him off 13 minutes after coming on in a European tie at Legia Warsaw. Kluivert is direct, can get past defenders one-on-one, and has a good end product. He began the season playing for the U-19 side but played so impressively that he was called up to the senior team, where he made an impact, scoring in his first full 90 minutes for the club at Excelsior in March.
A regular for the Netherlands' U-19 side, Kluivert has been used as an impact sub for Ajax this season, but more game time in the coming years could help him achieve his dream–to one day play for Barcelona, just like Patrick once did.
What they're saying:
“You can give the ball to him, and he's very difficult to stop. He has speed and courage, and knows how to pass. It's hard to believe that he's just 17."
- Sjaak Swart, former Ajax captain (said before May 5, when Kluivert turned 18)