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Johan Cruyff isnt only the best football player the world had ever seen until

Lionel Messi, hes also a visionary, philosopher and insufferable know-it-all.


Luckily, the Amsterdammer never kept his wisdom for himself: everyone in the
Netherlands can reproduce at least one of many classic Johan Cruyff quotes. We
examined 14 of them and came up with some shocking conclusions

1. The most difficult thing about an easy match is to make a weak opponent
play bad football.

Het moeilijke van een makkelijke wedstrijd is om een zwakke tegenstander


slecht te laten voetballen.

One of the most poetic of all Johan Cruyff quotes. And what he says is true, too.
Lets say the Dutch national team (#8 on the FIFA World Ranking) plays against
Andorra (#204). Whats Andorra gonna do? Right, defend like their lives are at
stake. Oranje will run into a brick wall. Still everyone expects them to waltz right
over these amateurs. A common problem Cruyff touches on here is
underestimation. In order to make a weak opponent play bad football, you have
to disrupt their rigid defence mechanism. The only way to achieve this is by
being one hundred percent focused. A speedy ball circulation and smart
movement without the ball is key in easy matches.

2. What is speed? The sports press often confuses speed with insight. See, if I
start running slightly earlier than someone else, I seem faster.

Wat is snelheid? Vaak verwisselt de sportpers snelheid met inzicht. Kijk, als ik
iets eerder begin te lopen dan een ander, dan lijk ik sneller.

Here Cruyff doesnt question the importance of speed, he just thinks insight is
more important. Insight can largely compensate for a lack of speed, whereas
speed can hardly compensate for a lack of insight.

3. If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.

Als ik zou willen dat je het begreep, had ik het wel beter uitgelegd.

In a lot of Johan Cruyff quotes his cockiness seeps through. If theres one thing
he hates, its people who dont get what hes saying. As far as hes concerned,
they dont even deserve to be asking him questions. I dont know how and where
he said this, but I bet it was at a press conference. Sometimes Cruyff just has the
hardest time hiding his contempt for journalists. Former Barcelona and Bayern
Munchen coach Louis van Gaal, currently head coach of the Dutch national team,
is far worse though.

4. People who are not of my level cant affect my integrity.

Mensen die niet van niveau zijn, kunnen mijn integriteit niet aantasten.

The sense of superiority that speaks from this quote is both embarrassing and
hilarious. I wonder what the context is. Cruyff is no fan of criticism, thats for
sure. He sincerely believes that he knows more about football (on anything else,
for that matter) than any other breathing human being on this planet. Its why
we love him.

5. Every disadvantage has its advantage.

Elk nadeel heb zn voordeel.

Without a doubt the best known and most used of all Johan Cruyff quotes. Its a
comforting, reassuring truism that can be used at anytime. Unfortunately, an
important detail is lost in the translation: instead of heeft Cruyff said heb,
which boils down to something like Every disadvantage have its advantage.
Johan might have been the best on the pitch, his Dutch is worse than that of a
toddler.

6. The ball is an essential part of the game.

De bal is een essentieel onderdeel van het spel.

I dont even know where to start, so I wont.

7. Theres only one moment in which you can arrive in time. If youre not there,
youre either too early or too late.

Er is maar n moment dat je op tijd kunt komen. Ben je er niet, dan ben je f
te vroeg, f te laat.

Cruyff was referring to a tackle. His comment is so obvious that most people
dont even bother saying it, but Johan just puts it out there. This quote has a lot
in common with the one about speed: you need insight to arrive in time, i.e. to
save yourself from making bad tackles.

8. I barely ever make mistakes because I have trouble with being mistaken.

Ik maak eigenlijk zelden fouten, want ik heb moeite me te vergissen.

When it comes to football, Cruyff is smarter than smart. No matter how hard he
tries, hes just barely able to be wrong. Okay, sometimes, very occasionally, his
wisdom lets him down, but these are exceptions. Dont get him wrong, he wants
to make a mistake once in a while, but he just cant.

9. Before I make a mistake, I dont make that mistake.

Voordat ik een fout maak, maak ik die fout niet.

In other words: in the rare case that Cruyff makes a mistake, he sure as hell
wont make that mistake twice. The way in which he turns a simple statement
I dont make the same mistake twice into poetry is simply mind-blowing.

10. To play well, you need good players, but a good player almost always has
the problem of a lack of efficiency. He always wants to do things prettier than
strictly necessary.

Om goed te voetballen, heb je goede voetballers nodig, maar een goede


voetballer heeft bijna altijd het probleem van een gebrek aan rendement. Hij wil
het altijd mooier doen dan strikt noodzakelijk.

Innumerable super talents dont make it because they dont know how to be a
team player. They can do anything they want with a ball, except giving a simple
pass at the right time with the right speed. Showcasing their skills is what its all
about for them. They play for themselves, not for the team. Its all about taming
the talent and making him see that his star will only rise if he puts the interests
of the team above his own.

11. Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest
thing there is.

Voetballen is heel simpel, maar het moeilijkste wat er is, is simpel voetballen.

Have you ever wondered why FC Barcelona is the best, most successful club in
the world? Because players like Messi, Xavi and Iniesta combine supernatural
skills with simple, short passes, dedication and team spirit. The man responsible
for the Barcelona philosophy? Right, Johan Cruyff.

12. Its better to go down with your own vision than with someone elses.

Je kunt beter ten onder gaan met je eigen visie dan met de visie van een
ander.

Calling Cruyff stubborn would be an understatement. Hes an insufferable knowit-all. Still you cant deny the fact that his vision Total Football, as its commonly
called works. It worked when he was playing for Ajax and Barcelona, it worked
when he managed those teams and its the basis of Barcelonas tiki-taka football.
The bottom line is: if you have a vision of your own, stick to it.

13. If you cant win, make sure you dont lose.

Als je niet ken winnen, moet je zorgen dat je niet verliest.

Again, its so obvious that most of us take it for granted. Of all the Johan Cruyff
quotes collected here, this one is most representative of his over my dead body
mentality. Cruyff shows himself to be a very pragmatic man: if youre outclassed
by your opponent, at least make sure to minimize the damage. Of course Cruyff
himself couldnt be outclassed, so this comment is probably about someone else.

14. In a way Im probably immortal.

In zekere zin ben ik waarschijnlijk onsterfelijk.

Theres no better way to end this list of 14 classic Johan Cruyff quotes, is there?
Dont you just love the probably? False modesty at its best.

1. Technique is not being able to juggle a ball 1000 times. Anyone can do that by
practicing. Then you can work in the circus. Technique is passing the ball with
one touch, with the right speed, at the right foot of your team mate.

2. Someone who has juggled the ball in the air during a game, after which four
defenders of the opponent get the time to run back, thats the player people
think is great. I say he has to go to a circus.

3. Choose the best player for every position, and youll end up not with a strong
XI, but with 11 strong 1s.

4. In my teams, the goalie is the first attacker, and the striker the first defender.

5. Why couldnt you beat a richer club? Ive never seen a bag of money score a
goal.

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6. I always threw the ball in, because then if I got the ball back, I was the only
player unmarked.
7. Im ex-player, ex-technical director, ex-coach, ex-manager, ex-honorary
president. A nice list that once again shows that everything comes to an end.

8. Players that arent true leaders but try to be, always bash other players after a
mistake. True leaders on the pitch already assume others will make mistakes.

9. What is speed? The sports press often confuses speed with insight. See, if I
start running slightly earlier than someone else, I seem faster.

10. Theres only one moment in which you can arrive in time. If youre not there,
youre either too early or too late.

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11. Before I make a mistake, I dont make that mistake.
12. When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have
the ball 3 minutes on average So, the most important thing is: what do you do
during those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball. That is what determines
wether youre a good player or not.

13. After youve won something, youre no longer 100 percent, but 90 percent.
Its like a bottle of carbonated water where the cap is removed for a short while.
Afterwards theres a little less gas inside.

14. There is only one ball, so you need to have it.

15. Im not religious. In Spain all 22 players make the sign of the cross before
they enter the pitch. If it works all matches must therefore end in a draw.

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16. We must make sure their worst players get the ball the most. Youll get it
back in no time.
17. If you have the ball you must make the field as big as possible, and if you
dont have the ball you must make it as small as possible.

18. Every professional golfer has a seperate coach for his drives, for approaches,
for putting. In football we have one coach for 15 players. This is absurd.

19. Surviving the first round is never my aim. Ideally, Id be in one group with
Brazil, Argentina and Germany. Then Id have lost two rivals after the first round.
Thats how I think. Idealisitic.

20. Players today can only shoot with their laces. I could shoot with the inside,
laces, and outside of both feet. In other words, I was six times better than
todays players.

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21. Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring.


22. There are very few players who know what to do when theyre not marked.
So sometimes you tell a player: that attacker is very good, but dont mark him.

23. I find it terrible when talents are rejected based on computer stats. Based on
the criteria at Ajax now I would have been rejected. When I was 15, I couldnt
kick a ball 15 meters with my left and maybe 20 with my right. My qualities
technique and vision, are not detectable by a computer.

24. Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing
there is.

25. If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.