Tiki-taka (commonly spelled tiqui-taca in Spanish) is a style of play in football characterised by short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession. The style is primarily associated with La Liga club FC Barcelona from Johan Cruyff's tenure as manager to the present, and the Spanish national team under managers Luis Aragonés and Vicente del Bosque. Tiki-taka moves away from the traditional thinking of formations in football to a concept derived from zonal play.
The late Spanish broadcaster Andrés Montes is generally credited with coining and popularizing the phrase tiki-taka during his television commentary on LaSexta for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, although the term was already in colloquial use in Spanish football and may originate with Javier Clemente. In his live commentary of the Spain versus Tunisia match, Montes used the phrase to describe Spain's precise, elegant passing style: "Estamos tocando tiki-taka tiki-taka." The phrase's origin may be onomatopoeic (alluding to the quick, short distance "tick" passing of the ball between players) or derived from a juggling toy named tiki-taka in Spanish (clackers in English).
The roots of what later would become known as tiki-taka lay in the style of play propagated and implemented by Johan Cruyff during his tenure as manager of Barcelona from 1988 to 1996. It continued to develop under Barcelona's Dutch coaches Louis van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard and was subsequently adopted by other La Liga teams. Barcelona's tiki-taka tradition led to greater success for the team during Josep Guardiola's managerial tenure from 2008 to 2012, and the system has been credited with producing a generation of technically talented, often physically small, players such as Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas, and Lionel Messi; players with excellent touch, vision and passing, who excel at maintaining possession.
Raphael Honigstein describes the tiki-taka played by the Spanish national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup as "a radical style that only evolved over the course of four years", arising from Spain's decision in 2006 that "they weren't physical and tough enough to outmuscle opponents, so instead wanted to concentrate on monopolising the ball."
Jed C.Davies, football coach at Oxford University and author of 'coaching the tiki-taka style of play' believes that tiki-taka football is "among other things, a conceptual revolution based on the idea that the size of any football field is flexible and can be altered by the team playing on it. In possession, the formation should intend on creating space and therefore making the pitch as big as possible" and the opposite when not in possession via Valeriy Lobanovskyi's full pitch aggressive pressing. Pep Guardiola is famed for saying "You win the ball back when there are thirty metres to their goal not eighty."