Tiki Taka is a style of football that originated from a style called Total Football. Here is a breakdown of the two styles. Total football, invented by the Dutch, is having no set positions, where anyone on the field can play any position except for the goalkeeper position. Tiki Taka is like a 2.0 upgrade to Total Football. It was founded by the great legend Johan Cryuff, and passed along through Barcelona after his stay with the club. The difference between the two styles is that Tiki Taka focuses more on short passes and keeping possession of the ball. You can often see this with Barcelona dominating possession even against the most powerful teams having about 60-70% possession on average.
This shift towards this style of play is the reason why the Catalan giants have released arguably quite one dimensional players over the last few years such as Ronaldinho, Deco and Ibrahimovic even though they were doing reasonably well during their time at Barcelona. The addition of Mascherano, Villa, and Fabregas was perfect for the team as they fit right in to this style of play. So whether you see Puyol and Pique in the back or make-shift defenders Mascherano and Sergio Busquets in the back, you know that the team will still function as one. Having players who can play any position and being able to both attack and defend is probably the most important aspect.
This style has proved to be very effective as Real Madrid has only beaten Barcelona one time out of the last 11 El Classicos, the time since Pep Guardiola stepped in bringing in Tika Tika with him. World and Euro cup winners Spain also enjoy success from using Tiki Taka with a great majority of the Spain players coming from Barcelona. Everyone sees the success of this style so why can’t other teams replicate it? The fact is that this style is hard to master and you have some of the best players with Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas playing for both these teams who have mastered this style playing with great touches, passing and vision. Until another team can master it or find another system to beat this style, these two teams will remain successful. With El Classico happening next weekend, we’ll see if Barcelona can continue this success.