Who invented tiki taka? Who is the genius behind such a technically beautiful tactic?

Knowing who invented tiki taka isn’t enough to justify how brilliant the tactics is.

Tiki taka has stood out in recent years to be one of the most beautiful styles of playing football, with the players using simple short passes to make entries into the oppositions goal.

The first mention of the word tiki taka

Who invented tiki taka tactic

The word tiki taka was first mentioned by the late Spanish commentator Andrés Montes during his commentary via LaSexta for the 2006 World Cup.

However, the style was already in use by most teams in the Spanish top flight, as well as the national team.



During the match between Spain and Tunisia in the 2006 World Cup, Montes used the sentence: “Estamos tocando tiki taka tiki taka” (which means: “we are playing tiki taka tiki taka“). From the statement, the sentence originally means “taking quick, light steps”

Tiki taka or Tiqui taca ([‘tiki’taka]) is predominantly a Spanish style of playing football known by it’s highly demanding technical ability of short passing and quick movement, moving the ball through multiple channels, and maintaining ball possession.

This style of playing football is mostly attributed to the LaLiga club FC Barcelona, especially during the reign of Pep Gaurdiola.

Although Guardiola publicly claimed to hate the style, stating in a press conference that he “loathed all that passing, just for the sake of it.”

Development and Invention

Who invented tiki taka tactic

However, it’s development and construction dates back to the legendary Johan Cruyff’s reign as the manager of Barcelona in the early 1990s.

Cruyff employed a heavily demanding short passing tactic where he instilled the ability to pass the ball in a quick, fluid manner in all his players (including Pep Guardiola).

Eventually, tiki taka was gradually embraced by the Barcelona La Masia academy, during which club legends Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Fabregas, Bousquets, and a host of other young talents were taught how to shatter defenses with sleek passing, quick movement, understanding the geometry of space, and vision.

The tactic quickly became famous for it’s beauty and organization, and was eventually adopted by the Spanish national team managers Luis Aragonés and Vicente del Bosque.

Tiki taka then became more than a style of play, but the trademark of the Barcelona and Spanish national team.

Most successful users of the tactic

Who invented tiki taka tactic

Now that we have known who invented the tiki taka tactics, we would take a look at some of the most successful teams to have used tiki taka in recent times.

Tiki taka has been used successfully by a handful of teams in the world recently.

The Spain national team, first under Luis Aragonés won the Euro 2008, and when he retired, Spain under Vicente del Bosque won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012

After Spain’s semi-final victory over Germany at the 2010 World Cup, Honigstein described Spain’s tiki taka style as “the most difficult mode of football ever: an uncompromising passing game, coupled with fierce, high pressing.”

According to Honigstein, tiki taka is “a significant upgrade” of the entire game of football because it relies on ball movement rather than players switching position.

Tiki taka allowed Spain to “control both the ball and their opponents.”

However, the greatest tactician to have employed the tiki taka tactics is Pep Guardiola.

During his time in charge of Barcelona between 2008 and 2012; his team won an astonishing six trophies in a single season – 2009 – (The LaLiga, Copa del Rey, 2009 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup).

Guardiola’s attacking, possession based tiki taka tactics and 4–3–3 formation also enabled Barcelona to win two more consecutive LaLiga trophies, as well as the next 2010 Champions League trophy, among other numerous trophies.

Another notable discipline of the tactic was Guardiola’s successor, Luis Enrique.

Enrique managed to tweak the tiki taka into a faster and more direct tactical approach during his tenure as Barcelona’s manager.

He managed to reform it into as an exciting, attack minded, possession based passing game, and building play from the back through ball playing defenders, and abandoning the excessive use of long balls.

His tiki taka expertise led Barcelona to a second continental treble during the 2014/15 season, capturing La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League

Knowing who exactly invented tiki taka is not an easy task.

However, we do know the inventor of the possession based, short passing, fluid style of play to be the legendary Johan Cruyff.

But the first use of the word tiki taka was attributed to the late Spanish commentator Andrés Montes, and the most successful manager to use the tiki taka tactic as Pep Guardiola.

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