Is Tiki Taka Dead?

by: Vicky Kumar

The famous system implemented by former Barcelona manager Johan Cryuff during the late 80’s has come under intense scrutiny in recent years.

Tiki-taka is all about keeping possession till an opportunity arises to score a goal. In order for it to work, players need to create a triangle in all areas of the pitch. Thus it creates a passing system that flows beautifully from defence to attack.

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A graphic of how tiki-taka works

Despite Cryuff’s brilliance, the system only came to prominence when  Spain was crowned Champions during the 2010 World Cup and Barcelona  winning numerous major titles during Pep  Guardiola’s reign.

Both clubs employed the system to perfection and gained plaudits from  various experts of the game.

The fame however was short-lived. In recent years, fans, pundits and even  managers alike have labelled the system as boring and a waste of time.

Spain’s failure during this year’s world cup adds to the already growing list of criticism of the system. The former world champions were humiliated by Holland after losing the game 5-1. Holland’s quick counter attacks outclassed Spain’s passing system and this indefinitely proves the ineffectiveness of the system.

“Originally they wanted possession in order to attack and win the game; now it seems to be first and foremost a way not to lose,” Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger criticizing Spain’s system.

Barcelona became substandard after the departure of the renowned Pep Guardiola. His replacements, Tata martino and Tito Vilanova both failed to live up to expectations and Barcelona was regressing.

Teams like Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid were performing better than the Catalan club. The both Madrid clubs approached the game in a more direct manner unlike Barcelona. And last season’s La Liga proved that the direct system of using wing-plays and set pieces to convert chances was more effective than the tiki-taka system.

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Luis Enrique, current Barcelona Manager

Athletico Madrid went on to become the La Liga Champions while Real Madrid won the Uefa Champions League last season.

So what does this make of the tiki-taka system? Does it imply that the tiki-taka system is dead?

Well Spanish football expert, Guillem Balague certainly thinks so.

With Barcelona performing well under new manager; Luis Enrique this season, Guillem Balagues recognizes the reason behind their improvement.

“It’s a different Barcelona,” said Balague as quoted by Sky Sports. “Most of the attacks come from the wings and the full-backs. The forwards play together and inside, and the centre midfielders are also very close to each other”.

He adds that the tiki-taka system was a thing of the past and that Luis Enrique has adopted a more direct approach to Barcelona’s style of play.

“Luis Enrique feels that he needs to surprise his rivals and forget tiki-taka.”

With Barcelona conceding 0 goals so far and firing at the other end with a stunning 19 goals, it surely is safe to say that the tiki-taka system is certainly dead.


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