Hasselbaink reveals his failed transfer to Barcelona following van Gaal sacking
Former Dutch forward and Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has revealed that Louis van Gaal’s sacking ended his hopes of making a return to the La Liga with Barcelona.
Having plied his trade with Atletico Madrid for a season, Hasselbaink was linked with a move to Barcelona in the second half of the 2003-04 season, with Chelsea keen to cash in on their star forward to raise funds.
Barcelona manager van Gaal wanted the Chelsea ace to provide competition for Patrick Kluivert but a move fell through after the Dutchman was sacked.
Hasselbaink stayed on at Chelsea for another 18 months and went on to establish himself as a legend at Stamford Bridge, scoring 81 goals from 169 appearances for the Blues. He moved on to Middlesbrough at the end of the 2004-05 season before eventually hanging up his boots in 2008.
“There was a fee agreed. Louis van Gaal was at Barcelona, he wanted me there. He wanted competition for Patrick Kluivert.” Hasselbaink said.
“I think the transfer between the clubs was agreed on Friday. We played Man United (at the weekend). (Claudio) Ranieri asked me ‘do you want to play?’ Because he already knew. I wanted to play the last game and then move on.”
“I got kicked on my ankle by Phil Neville and I had to come off. My ankle was really swollen but it wouldn’t have stopped the deal. What happened, Valencia won against Barcelona – I think 3-1 or something – and the next morning Van Gaal was sacked, and the deal was off.”
Despite the disappointment of missing out on a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs, Hasselbaink looks back on it as a blessing in disguise.
“I was at a magnificent club. I was loved. I really had a good time. The club wanted to sell me because they needed to raise money,” Hasselbaink said.
“Obviously Barcelona is a magnificent club but the transition when it didn’t go through was fairly easy. It was just not meant to be.”
“You can look at it in different ways. I always try to take the positive out of it.”