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Tutti frutti football tips



Johan Cruijff, former Dutch football star and guru, came up with another of his famous off-the-cuff expressions after the Netherlands’ surprising 3-0 victory over Italy last Monday: tutti frutti.

Sports folks are known for not being able to speak properly and hypercorrect themselves to try and sound better. Johan Cruijff is known for mangling Dutch grammar, but at the same time, has this uncanny ability to make some sense. Cruijff said, “Zet er één in de spits en maak er wat tuttifrutti van,” which probably makes as much sense to the non-Dutch speaker untranslated as it does translated: “Put one up front and make tutti frutti out of it.” Cruijff was apparently boasting the merits of using one striker and having midfielders attacking in waves, but nobody knows for sure, although it sounds good.

Here are some other odd but could be prophetic things he has said in the past. There’s a whole book out there with these expressions.

“Sometimes something’s got to happen before something is going to happen.”
“Football is simple, but it is difficult to play simple.”
“Every disadvantage has its advantage.”

My favourite is “If you don’t shoot, you can’t score”. How true.


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  1. Branko Collin says:

    He had another new and wonderful epigram last Monday, but I was too excited to remember.

    Cruijff and his protégé Marco van Basten, current coach of the Dutch team, recently had a bit of a falling out, so the former was uncommonly critical of the latter this week. Van Basten responded by replying to one of Cruijff’s epigrams (“you cannot win from Italians, you can only lose to them”): “apparently you can.”

  2. Márcia W. says:

    “Sometimes something’s got to happen before something is going to happen.”
    Words that should be carved on marble!

  3. Marc Hoogveld says:

    “Hun kunnen niet van je winnen, maar je kan wel van hun verliezen”, means: They can’t win from you, but you can lose from them. Which actually makes alot of sense; the Italians have adefensive style of playing soccer. They hardly go for an offensive style, and therefor a game might look like the Italians cannot win. Until they counter and score the 1-0. And then you’ve lost… :)

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