He is also well known for speaking in Cruyffisms. Delightfully nonsensical turns of phrase that need to be parsed to discover a nugget of truth, or brilliantly plain spoken pearls that show a uniquely straightforward perspective on football. Artfully direct wisdom.
For example this one: Why couldn’t you beat a richer club? I’ve never seen a bag of money score a goal. Good point.
It’s a perfect storm of things I love. A great turn of phrase that combines wisdom, bravado, disdain and a heightened sense of absurdity. And I’ve also discovered that there are a few I can not only incorporate into my spoken Dutch, but perhaps bedazzle my exam markers with.
“Als ik zou willen dat je het begreep, had ik het wel beter uitgelegd.”
“If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.”
It doesn’t get more high status than this. Cruyff used it in the sense that his philosophical insights into the beautiful game are too much for the prosaic mind of whomever he was speaking to to handle. In my case I will use it when my Dutch fails me in trying to explain something simple during the exam. Which should happen shortly after it commences.
“I barely ever make mistakes because I have trouble with being mistaken.”
“Ik maak eigenlijk zelden fouten, want ik heb moeite me te vergissen.”
I love the way this guy talks. So I’m fashioning myself after him. And if I get on a hot streak (answering more than one question correctly in a row), I’ll drop this pearl. If I do it successfully (and I barely ever make mistakes) I see no way I’m getting less than a pass with flying colours.
“Every disadvantage has its advantage.”
“Elk nadeel heeft z’n voordeel.”
This is a popular Cruyffism, in that it’s generally well-known, and the only one I’ve actually been able to use in conversation. Which I do frequently.
It’s a comforting, reassuring truism that can be used at anytime. I”m not sure where I’ll use this during the exam. However, as this is the one I already use, I’m sure it will come out.
“Before I make a mistake, I don’t make that mistake.”
“Voordat ik een fout maak, maak ik die fout niet.”
Apparently this means he never makes the same mistake twice, but I like to think of it as his having such preternatural foresight that he is able to anticipate the potential negative outcome of a move, and then choosing from them the best course of action. At every moment.
I may not utter these words in my Dutch exam, but it will be my guiding principle while sitting it.
And, as for the results? Well, there’s one last appropriate Cruyffism.
“If you can’t win, make sure you don’t lose.”
“Als je niet ken winnen, moet je zorgen dat je niet verliest.”
That’s exactly what I’m after. Think about it.
If you don’t understand how this applies to my Dutch exam, maybe it’s because I didn’t want you to.