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Football Skill: What is Cruyff Turn in Football and How to Do It?

This blog explores the Cruyff Turn, a legendary football skill named after Johan Cruyff. It dives into the history, execution technique, famous users, and its lasting impact on the game, making it a fundamental for footballers of all levels.

Sourav Ghosh
Last updated: 25.06.2024
Cruyff Turn in Football

In the fast-paced world of football, certain skills transcend generations, captivating audiences with their elegance and effectiveness. The Cruyff Turn, named after the iconic Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff, is one such skill. This blog will delve into the history, execution techniques, notable players, impact on the game, and effective practice methods associated with the Cruyff Turn, shedding light on why it remains a fundamental technique in the sport.

The Origin and Evolution of Cruyff Turn:   

  • Johan Cruyff introduced the Cruyff Turn during the 1974 FIFA World Cup, leaving defenders bewildered and establishing the move as a timeless classic.
  • Over the years, the move has evolved, with players like Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi adding their unique variations while preserving its core principles of deception and agility.

Execution Technique of Cruyff Turn:  

  • Approach the defender at a moderate pace, enticing them to commit to a tackle or interception.
  • Plant one foot beside the ball while using the other to drag it behind the planted foot, creating a shield between the ball and the defender.
  • Simultaneously, shift your body weight in the opposite direction, executing a swift 180-degree turn while using the momentum to accelerate away from the defender.
  • The key lies in the sudden change of direction and body movement, catching the defender off guard and creating space for a pass or shot on goal.

Cruyff Turn - Notable Players and Their Styles:  

  • Johan Cruyff: The originator, known for his audacious use of the Cruyff Turn to outsmart opponents and create scoring opportunities.
  • Zinedine Zidane: Employed the Cruyff Turn with elegance and finesse, using subtle feints and body movements to deceive defenders effortlessly.
  • Lionel Messi: Mastered the skill, integrating it seamlessly into his dribbling repertoire to evade multiple defenders and create goal-scoring chances for himself and his teammates.
  • Neymar Jr.: Renowned for his flair and creativity, Neymar uses the Cruyff Turn to confound opponents and exploit gaps in the defense, often leading to goal-scoring opportunities.
  • Ronaldinho: Added his own flair to the Cruyff Turn, incorporating sudden changes in pace and direction for wrong-foot defenders and creating space for his trademark dribbling skills.

 Impact on the Game with Cruyff Turn:  

  • The Cruyff Turn is more than just a flashy trick; it's a strategic weapon used to create space, evade pressure, and initiate attacks.
  • Its simplicity and surprise element make it a valuable skill for players at all levels, contributing to individual and team success by breaking through defensive lines and unlocking compact defenses.

 Practice Methods of Cruyff Turn:  

  • Incorporate the Cruyff Turn into training drills and small-sided games to simulate match scenarios and improve decision-making under pressure.
  • Focus on coordination, balance, and timing while practicing the skill repeatedly to master its execution in various situations.
  • Analyze footage of proficient users of the Cruyff Turn to understand its nuances and incorporate them into your game, adapting the skill to suit your playing style and position on the field.


In the dynamic world of football, mastering the Cruyff Turn is akin to wielding a timeless weapon on the pitch. From its humble origins to its enduring influence on the game, this skill embodies the essence of football artistry. Whether executed by legends of the past or the stars of today, the Cruyff Turn continues to mesmerize audiences and define the beauty of the beautiful game, showcasing the enduring legacy of Johan Cruyff's genius.

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