A guide to Tiki-Taka football

A guide to Tiki-Taka football

Tiki-taka is a style of play in football characterized by short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels to maintain possession.

It has been previously been described as a ‘style of play based on making your way to the back of the net through short passing and movement.’

The style is primarily associated with La Liga club FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team under managers Luis Aragonés and Vicente del Bosque, respectively.

The tiki-taka has been performed by many notable players including Leo Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla, Iniesta, Xavi and Cryuff.

The phrase’s origin may be onomatopoeic (alluding to the quick, short distance “tick” passing of the ball between players) or derived from a juggling toy named tiki-taka in Spanish (clackers in English).

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The style involves roaming movement and positional interchange among midfielders, moving the ball in intricate patterns, and sharp, one or two-touch passing.

Tiki-taka is “both defensive and offensive in equal measure” – the team is always in possession, so doesn’t need to switch between defending and attacking.

Commentators have contrasted tiki-taka with “route one physicality” and with the higher-tempo passing of Arsène Wenger’s 2007–08 Arsenal side, which employed Cesc Fàbregas as the only channel between defense and attack.

Tiki-taka is associated with flair, creativity, and touch, but can also be taken to a “slow, directionless extreme” that sacrifices effectiveness for aesthetics.

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