A friend pointed out this report featuring a pissed off Johan Cruijff and complained about how the subtitles don’t do justice to the man’s gift for freestyly language. And that’s truly a shame…

Most of the work of Dutch philosophy’s major figures can be handily summed up with one of their catchphrases – Erasmus with his ‘In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king’, Descartes with his ‘I think therefore I am’, and Spinoza with his ‘We are a part of nature as a whole, whose order we follow’.

But Johan Cruijff is a case apart. First off: he’s a football player. But he was perhaps the best footballer of the 20th century and remains the most famous Dutch person alive. As a member of Ajax and the Dutch national team in the 1960s and 70s, he developed and became the personification of ‘Total Football’ which he later fine-tuned as the coach of Barcelona FC and applied at his own Johan Cruijff University where pro-footballers learn how to deal with life after they’ve hung up their shoes. He remains a favourite commentator at major football matches. His catchphrases – equally applicable to football as to life – keep filling books and invoking wonder in the way they make perfect sense in a strangely nonsensical way. After meditating deeply on the following Zen Slaps of insight, you will understand why it’s not only his initials JC that earned him the name of ‘The Redeemer’.

‘Football should always be played beautifully.’

‘If you don’t score, you don’t win.’

‘You should put the point on the ‘i’ where it belongs.’

‘Every disadvantage has its advantage.’

‘Coincidence is logical.’

‘You should never cheer before the bear is shot.’

‘The game always begins afterwards.’

‘He heard the clock strike but didn’t know what time it was.’

‘A balloon keeps going deeper into the water until it bursts.’

‘Whenever things do not work, you realise the importance of details (details that have gone wrong in the detail).’

‘A mistake begins where it’s supposed to begin.’

‘Either you are on time or late; therefore if you are late you must make sure you leave on time.’

‘When my career ends, I cannot go to the baker and say “I’m Johan Cruijff, give me some bread.”‘

‘If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.’

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Posted in Uncategorized 13 years, 3 months ago at 1:26 pm.

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