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One given moment
Apr 2nd 2016 | The Economist |
Johan Cryuff believed that true beauty of the world’s most beautiful game, didn’t lie in tricksy technique. If a man could juggle a ball a thousand times, it proved only that he ought to join the circus. Of course, it was great when Rudolf Nureyev said he should have been a dancer. But Cryuff was not just using his long, lean body when he played football. He was mostly using his brain....

Strategic nous - "practical intelligence/good judgement/shrewdness" = "high-octane business acumen"

As a coach of Barcelona, Cryuff instigated their junior academy, La Masia, the imitated the one he had set up to at Club Ajax. There a new generation of players—Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and the rest—learned to play in the swift, precise and total Cruyff style.

Soccer clubs that hired Cryuff, as a director or adviser were berated when things were not done as they had to be, his way. “Before I make a mistake, I don’t make that mistake,” he said.

Match analysts almost made him into a scholar of the turf, “a Pythagoras in boots”, as he was called once. For him, it was all just instinct.

Cryuff usually played forward, but his philosophy of “total football”—in which he had been coached himself by Rinus Michels at Ajax, before he became its most celebrated “conductor”, as of an orchestra—allowed any player to take any position on the field. Left-wingers could be right-wingers, and a goalie could even be an attacker, using his feet for a change. (Why not? It was a waste of a position otherwise.) Switching and swapping was a neat way to confound the opposition,

His rules of the game were simple. (Geometrical, some said, even mystical.) If he had the ball, the space on the pitch had to be made as large as possible. If he didn’t have it, the space had to become threatening and small. He adjusted his perspective continually with the movement of the ball. At one given moment—neither too early nor too late, en un momento dado, his catchphrase when he shaped Barcelona into the world’s top team—the ball and he would meet.
business_acumen  coaching  FC_Barcelona  fingerspitzengefühl  Johan_Cryuff  moments  obituaries  soccer  spatial_awareness  strategic_thinking 
september 2016 by jerryking
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