English football and Spanish football

Hands typing on vintage typewriter on wooden table.

Anna, Valencia

So Manchester City have won the English league and Real Madrid have won the Spanish league. But in a recent clash of these two titans of world football in the European Championship, Real Madrid eliminated Man City. In so doing Real Madrid has done world football a favour. How so?

Man City have won the English League using the Tiki-Taka style of football that Pep Guardiola learned as a player at Barcelona, continued as a manager at Barcelona and has used with great success as manager of Manchester City.

Tiki-Taka is a form of football which old fashioned football managers used to call ‘possession football’, the idea being to retain possession of the ball at all costs by making endless risk-free short passes, usually sideways or backwards and very occasionally forwards. It all too often ends with a back pass to the goalkeeper. It enables an inferior team to get a draw against a better team, and a very good team to win a game against a top team by the odd goal. It’s effective in its way but in all cases it BORES THE PANTS OFF SUPPORTERS!

So, while Manchester City have won the English League, I wouldn’t pay a single penny to watch them… I’d rather watch paint dry. On the other hand, I would willingly pay to watch Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team who play open, exciting positive football.

As any fan of Real Madrid knows, it’s not good enough for Real Madrid to win, they have to win with flair and in flamboyant style. That’s been the case since the legendary days of di Stefano, Puskas and Gento, etc. whose extravagant skills changed the face of world football into ‘the beautiful game’ 60 years ago.

Real Madrid have never played Tiki-Taka football and they never will… their fans would not accept it. When Real Madrid are looking for players to improve their team they don’t look mainly for defenders, they look for outstanding attacking midfielders such as Modric and more recently Bellingham, and outstanding goal scorers such as Rodrigo, Vinicius Junior, and maybe shortly Mbappe.

Tiki-Taka, as used successfully by Manchester City and unsuccessfully by the English National team, is a sometimes effective but boring way of playing football. Real Madrid did the world of football a favour when their skilful, flamboyant attacking football overcame the boring, defensive ‘side pass, side pass, back pass’ Tiki-Taka style of play used by Manchester City.


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