KEY POINTS

  • Messi and Co. reportedly have approved Patrick Kluivert as Barca's next manager
  • Kluivert is Barcelona's current academy director
  • He played for the club between 1998 and 2004

FC Barcelona reportedly are planning to replace current boss Quique Setien with former striker Patrick Kluivert.

Kluivert is the current academy director at Barcelona. A report in Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo has disclosed Kluivert can become Barcelona’s coach before their upcoming Champions League fixture against Napoli and the news has "gone down well" in the Catalans' dressing room as the club has got approval from the players, especially captain Lionel Messi.

Kluivert, who played for Barcelona between 1998 and 2004, scored 122 goals for the La Liga giants in as many as 257 competitive appearances. Apart from Barcelona, he also represented the likes of Milan, Valencia, Newcastle, and Ajax. The report has further revealed that Messi and Co. respect the Dutchman, who is believed to have a solution for any situation possible, considering the immense experience he has gathered over the years as a player and coach.

Antoine Griezmann celebrates with Lionel Messi after scoring a sensational chip against Villarreal on Sunday.
Antoine Griezmann with Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba AFP / JOSE JORDAN

It is understood that Kluivert has been very protective of Barcelona’s wonderkid Ansu Fati, who opened the goal scoring in Barcelona’s last La Liga match of the season where the Catalans won 5-0. The 17-year-old Fati boasts a story "very similar" to Kluivert during his initial days in Amsterdam’s Ajax. It is also believed that he could well extract the best out of Frenkie de Jong, the 23-year-old Dutch player who joined Barcelona in 2019 and has scored just two goals this season.

It is more or less understood that Setien, who was handed Barcelona’s charge earlier this season after the club had sacked Ernesto Valverde, is going to get sacked. With Barcelona not winning the La Liga this season, his tactics clearly have not worked well with the senior players including Messi. Real Madrid finally won the league after they last lifted the trophy in 2017.

Barcelona, however, are alive in the Champions League as they are set to host Napoli in the second leg of their last-16 fixture, having drawn 1-1 in the first leg Italy.

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