You may love them or hate them, but whenever Barcelona FC play one thing is for sure, as a genuine football lover you will be in for a treat. Barcelona’s slick stylish attacking one touch football will surely mesmerize and enthrall you. This superb and spectacular style of play, characterized by quick short and pinpoint accurate passes, lightning on and off the ball movements, maintaining possession and pressing the other team heavily when you do not have the ball, is the core part of Barcelona footballing philosophy for about past 30 yrs, known as Tiki taka or quite simply the beautiful game.
Tiki taka has its roots in Total football, a style of play developed by Dutchman Rinus Michales.In theory it means that any player can take over the role of any other player in the team.A player can be an attacker, a midfielder and defender,there are no fixed positions, except for the goalkeeper. Though looked with suspicion in the beginning, Total Football proved its point with the highly successful Ajax and Dutch teams of 70’s.Michales was the manager of Barcelona from 1971-1975 and was instrumental in introducing Total Football to the club as well as something more historic ,bringing Johan Cruyff’s to Barcelona who ultimately introduced the Tiki Taka style of play with the Barcelona’s dream team of 1990’s ,a more adept and successful version of Total Football.
Though almost a carbon copy of Total Football , Tiki taka’s major notable difference is the focus more being on ball movement rather than quickly changing positions. It involves clever, intricate one touch passes, working the ball through various channels, creating small triangles out of one touch passes leaving the opposition defenders baffled and always chasing the ball.Keeping possession is also a major feature. Tiki-taka is the logical next step in the evolution of Total Football .Introduced in Barcelona under Cruyff’s tenure, it has continued under Barcelona’s Dutch coaches Louis van Gaal , Frank Rijkaard and the latest being Josep Guardiola each one improving the Tiki taka style with some intelligent tweaks .While Rijkaard introduced the 4-3-3/4-1-2-2-1 formation, Guardiola continued with the same strategy but stresses on importance of pressuring and pressing the opponents and to defend as a unit.Players were ordered to equally defend and attack. Seeing Pique score and David Villa defend in Barcelona’s matches is a quite a common sight these days.
The results speak for themselves.The philosophy has produced a string of technically talented (often physically small) players such as Messi, Xavi, Iniesta , (FC Barcelona is the shortest club in Europe, the average height at the Catalan club being 177.38 cm). In the last 6 years Barcelona has won the Club Word Club, Champions League (3 times),La Liga (4 times) and a number of other titles and are currently considered the best footballing side in the world. Statistics speak for themselves
Whenever you see Barca play,more than often it turns out to be a treat for the eye. The always will attack ,beautifully passing the ball around in dazzling patterns rarely playing in air.I haven’t seen them employing defensive “park the bus ” tactics to win games(quite popular with Jose Mourinho).More than wining Barcelona’s philosophy is to play it the right way the Tiki taka way.It remains to be seen how successful the club are with this approach but as of now the Tiki taka is the core of Barcelona’s footballing philosophy and on field success ,and is here to stay for long.
I would sum up quoting Cruyff’s famous lines :
“Simple football is the most beautiful. But playing simple football is the hardest thing”