Johan Cruyff is the most intriguing sports figure of the last 50 years. He had the ability to say something you have never heard before, that is at the same time blindingly obvious. How could he see the most obvious thing in the world that nobody else could see?
He understood speed.
What is speed? The sports press often confuses speed with insight. See, if I start running slightly earlier than someone else, I seem faster.
He understood that technique exists only in the service of the game and of the team.
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.
He understood how difficult it is to do the easy things well.
Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.
He understood understanding.
“You see it when you understand it.”
He understood leadership.
“Players that aren’t true leaders but try to be, always bash other players after a mistake. True leaders on the pitch already assume others will make mistakes.”
He understood the power of individuality.
“Every disadvantage has its advantage.”
And most importantly, he understood timing.
“There’s only one moment in which you can arrive in time. If you’re not there, you’re either too early or too late.”
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