Justin Kluivert Follows First Champions League Goal With Heartwarming Tribute

The goal itself was simple, straightforward and, if we’re being honest, fairly easy. The tribute after the goal was heartwarming.

Justin Kluivert moved from Ajax to AS Roma over the summer, but Ajax did not leave the 19-year-old’s mind. In particular, Kluivert’s former teammate Abdelhak Nouri.

Nouri suffered brain damage after collapsing during a preseason friendly in 2017. He fell into a coma. While Nouri has shown some improvement over the past year (he can move his eyebrows), his body has deteriorated physically. 

It was with Nouri in mind that Kluivert took the No. 34 jersey at Roma, to honor the midfielder, his former teammate. 

It was with Nouri in mind that Kluivert celebrated his first goal with Roma, also his first career Champions League goal.

Roma routed Viktoria Plzen 5-0 on Tuesday in Champions League Group G play. Edin Dzeko scored a hat trick and Cengiz Ünder added another — usual suspects for the Italian side. 

But the Justin Kluivert goal vs Plzen sparked perhaps the greatest celebrations at the Stadio Olimpico. 

Again, the goal itself was by no means spectacular, particularly in the context of the match, which was 3-0 before it went in. After initially celebrating with his teammates, Kluivert went to the bench where he was given a Nouri Roma jersey, which he held aloft to honor his friend.

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Classy stuff from a kid who grew up around the game. His father, Patrick Kluivert, was a Dutch legend, scoring 40 times in 79 appearances for the Oranje. He played for Ajax, AC Milan, Barcelona, Newcastle, Valencia, PSV and Lille over his career, making his name at Barça, where he scored 90 goals in 182 games. 

Justin has some pretty big shoes to fill following in his father’s footsteps, but he’s off to a pretty good start. 

Kluivert’s tribute wasn’t the only one made on Tuesday. After one of his goals, Dzeko held aloft the jersey of Riccardo Calafiori, a Roma youth player who suffered a nasty knee injury in the youth match between Roma and Plzen. 

Justin Kluivert goal vs Plzen

Riccardo Calafiori thanking Edin Dzeko. Photo: @richycala | Instagram

Calafiori thanked Dzeko on Instagram and vowed a strong recovery, saying: “The most difficult battle of my life has arrived ... I do not fear you at all.”

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