Johan Cruyff: The Genius of Simple Football and Profound Quotes


This weekend, we are gearing up for the magic last rounds in the European Football Championship 2024. The Netherlands (‘Oranje’) is playing Turkey for a place int he semi finals. In these moments of national excitement and pride, it’s impossible not to reflect on the profound impact of legendary footballers who have shaped the game we love today. Especially in the Netherlands.

Among them, Johan Cruyff (his last name is spelled either with ‘y’ or ‘ij’) stands out as a true revolutionary. His influence on football is unparalleled, not just through his incredible skills on the pitch but also through his insightful and often witty sayings that continue to inspire players and fans alike. We will always remember his most famous manoeuvre which has been labelled as the “Cruyff turn”. De Cruijff-turn (

Teams across Europe, inspired by his philosophy, strive to play beautiful, intelligent football. Whether it’s the precise passing of Spain, the fluid movement of the Dutch, or the strategic depth of Germany, traces of Cruyff’s influence are evident. But even more remarkable were his statements about football and life. Rich with what we call “Cruyffian logic”. Food for thought! His sayings remind us that the beautiful game is, at its heart, a simple one, yet it takes true genius to play it beautifully.

Cruyffian’s famous sayings

We are quoting some of the most remarkable Cruyffian sayings with an effort to explain it into proper English.

Elk nadeel heb z’n voordeel.
Every disadvantage has its advantage.

Je moet schieten, anders kun je niet winnen.
You have to shoot or you can’t win.

Je gaat het pas zien als je het doorhebt.
You will only see it when you get it.

Het goeie doel is niet je eigen doel.
The right goal is not your own goal.

Voetbal is een spel van fouten. De ploeg die de minste maakt, is de beste.
Football is a game of mistakes. The team that makes the least is the best.

Voetbal is simpel. Wat moeilijk is, is simpel voetballen.
Football is simple. What is difficult, is playing simple football.

Voordat ik een fout maak, maak ik die fout niet.
Before I make a mistake, I don’t make that mistake.

Als wij de bal hebben, kunnen zij niet scoren.
If we have the ball, they can’t score.

Als je ergens niet bent, ben je óf te vroeg, óf te laat.
If you’re not somewhere, you’re either too early or too late.

Toeval is logisch.
Coincidence makes sense.

De waarheid is nooit precies zoals je denkt dat hij zal zijn.
The truth is never exactly what you think it will be.

Ik ben overal tegen, tot ik een besluit neem. Dan ben ik ervoor.
I’m against everything until I make a decision. Then I’m in favor.

In zekere zin ben ik waarschijnlijk onsterfelijk.
In a sense, I’m probably immortal.

If you are baffled by these expressions from Johan Cruyff (or Dutch sayings in general), you should find a Flowently tutor near you. See for locations and available tutors the link in the comments below.

Published by: Flowently

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