Patrick Kluivert has revealed that he was close to taking up the role of Louis van Gaal’s assistant at Manchester United last summer
The former Netherlands striker was Van Gaal’s number two at the World Cup, but decided to take up the role of national coach of Curacao – the Caribbean nation that his mother is from.
“Louis wanted to have Ryan Giggs in my position and I could understand his decision – he wanted someone who knows the club very well,” Kluivert is quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“He also said to me: ‘Patrick, it’s now time for you to stand on your own feet,’ and that’s why I didn’t join Manchester United. So I have made a different step towards the top and I see it as a perfect one towards being head coach of a good club team.”
Kluivert claims that he also had an offer to take charge of Ghana’s national team.
“I had offers from some clubs after that, and also the Ghana national team,” he said. “But I’m a sensitive person and if the feeling isn’t good I’m not doing it.
“The feeling I had about working with the people here on the island [Curacao] was very good and that was the most important thing when making my decision. It is a nice challenge and I’m taking it very seriously – it has come at the perfect moment for me.”
Kluivert added: “The [Curacao] federation asked me if I was interested in the job of head coach and I didn’t have to think. I still have a lot of family here and feel a strong connection with the place. It seems like home, and that was a big part of it for me.”
The former Barcelona and Newcastle United man hopes to guide Curacao to their first ever World Cup finals in 2018, and they started with a 2-1 win over Monserrat on Saturday.
“I’m not going to predict anything, I’m just going match after match, trying to analyse our opponents well and to prepare the team,” Kluivert said.
“We’ll aim to play organised, offensive, attractive football and go for the win every time, but I’m not a person who likes to aim for big targets. We’re just looking to go as far as possible.”