He delighted viewers all around the world as a player, but Johan Cruyff’s real legacy comes from his coaching years at Ajax (1985-1988) and Barcelona (1988-1996). His unique vision on preparation, technique, possession, position and vision will always be remembered, and here we do our best in compiling his best quotes, which say a lot about his idea of football.

“We show the world that you can have fun as a player, you can laugh and have a great time. I represent a time that made it pretty clear that beautiful football is fun and that, in addition, you can conquer titles with it.”

“Football must always be played in an attractive way, you must play offensively, it must be a show.”

“Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring.”

“The simple game is the most beautiful there is. How many times do you see a 40-meter pass when 20 are enough? The solution that seems the simplest is, in fact, the hardest.”

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

“I think that people should be able to play in all the positions on the field. That is why it is so important that all are listening to the tactic conversations. Left winger can’t fall asleep while the coach is talking about the right back.”

“Why couldn’t you beat a richer club? I’ve never seen a bag of money score a goal.”

“All coaches talk about movement, about running a lot. I say it’s not necessary to run that much. Football is a game that’s played with the brains. You must be in the right place, at the right time, not too soon but not too late.”

“In order to play well, you need good players, but a good player often has the problem of a lack of efficiency. He always wants to make things prettier that the strictly necessary.”

“My forwards only have to run 15 meters, unless they are stupid or sleeping…”

“No team runs as little as Barcelona does. They always have the ball. They are the ones that mark the pace of the match and decide where it’s played. There is only one ball, and those who have it, decide.”

“Speed is very often confused with anticipation. If I start running slightly earlier than someone else, I seem faster.”

“Every disadvantage has its advantage.”

“In my teams, the goalkeeper is the first attacker, and the striker is the first defender.”

“There is only one moment in which you can arrive in time. If you’re not there, you’re either too early or too late.”

“If you have the ball you must make the field as big as possible, and if you don’t have the ball you must make it as small as possible.”

“There are very few players who know what to do when they’re not marked. So sometimes you tell a player: that attacker is very good, but don’t mark him.”

“I always threw the ball in, because then if I got the ball back, I was the only unmarked player.”

“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.”

“After you’ve won something, you’re no longer 100 percent, but 90 percent. It’s like a bottle of carbonated water where the cap is removed for a short while. Afterwards there’s a little less gas inside.”

“Choose the best player for every position, and you’ll end up not with a strong XI, but with 11 strong 1’s.”

“Everyone knows how to play football if you leave them 5 meters of space.”

“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 you do during those 87 minutes when you don’t have the ball. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not”.

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