Football Tricks and the Players Who Invented Them

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor IApril 18, 2013

Football Tricks and the Players Who Invented Them

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    From Leonidas to Pele, and Maradona to Zidane, football has always placed on a pedestal those who are able to show invention, trickery and ingenuity in their game.

    They are the great entertainers, and as ever, those who have entertained the most have acquired a number of useful tricks along the way.

    From the parks of inner-city London, to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, it is these pieces of sublime footballing technique that are consistently repeated by those looking to become the next in line to Okocha, Ronaldo or even Henry.

    There is something wonderful about the one-on-one combat between an attacker and a defender that football throws up, and it is for this reason that individual skills manage to captivate such a wide audience.

    So then, let's take a look at some of football's best-known tricks, as well as those who purport to have invented them.

The Cruyff Turn

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    One of the most commonly used tricks in the modern game, the Cruyff turn is generally attributed to, and named after, Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.

    The skill allows a sharp change of direction and can be used to beat an opponent (as shown) or to earn space in congested areas.

    The trick came to prominence through Cruyff's usage of the move at the 1974 World Cup and has been commonplace ever since.

The Pele Runaround

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    It was a trick mastered by the King himself, with Pelé introducing the world football scene to "the runaround".

    The skill of the move involves allowing a pass to run across you, while making an opponent think you will take the ball in your stride, before then going on to run the opposite way around the marker and collect the ball.

    It is a move that requires the correct weight of pass and no shortage of speed to execute, but can be lethal when demonstrated well. Sadly, in this example from the 1970 World Cup, Pelé would miss the target with his shot.

The Marseille Turn

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    Another trick of unknown origin, the Marseille turn was first popularised in Europe by French striker Yves Mariot in the 1970s. However, it has since been most famously used by the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Diego Maradona and Thierry Henry.

    Another move with several uses depending on situation, it is generally used to create space in tight areas by taking a direct opponent out of play.

    Henry, though, has shown that the move can be used to round the opposing goalkeeper, for example.

    Of all the move's famous users, it is Zidane who perhaps best captured the imagination with its usage. The France '98 star used the move as a regular feature of his play, as well as utilising several variations to great success.

The Elastico

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    The Elastico, often referred to as the flip-flap, is a move brought to prominence by Brazilian great Roberto Rivellino in the 1970s. However, the player himself attributes the move's invention to a former futsal teammate, Sergio Echigo.

    The skill involves moving the ball in one direction before returning it in the other direction, all with the use of just one foot. To this day, it remains a trick associated with those who have developed by playing futsal.

    The move was popularised in the 2000s by Barcelona star Ronaldinho and featured as part of a Nike advertising campaign. Its most famous usage, though, came courtesy of Rivellino in the final of the 1970 World Cup against Italy.

The Seal Dribble

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    A move popularised by rising star of Brazilian football, Kerlon, in 2005, the seal dribble proved almost impossible for defenders to counteract without resorting to physical means—which they inevitably did.

    Whether Kerlon invented the move or not, who knows, but it was the young Cruzeiro prospect who brought the move to worldwide attention. The move would help Kerlon become one of the most well-regarded prospects in the South American game (BBC).

    Sadly for the creative midfielder, his career has not quite gone as one would have hoped eight years ago. A move to Inter Milan brought continuous injury problems that have hampered his overall development, and Kerlon now finds himself plying his trade in the Japanese third tier—a real shame.

The Step Over

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    The step over is one of the oldest of football's most recognised tricks, with some attributing the move to Indonesian player Law Adam in the 1920s and others crediting Dutch winger of the 1960s, Piet Keizer.

    The move, though, enjoyed a rise to prominence in the 1990s, largely due to Brazilian forward Ronaldo who made the move somewhat of a trademark. He was then followed by colleagues Denílson and Robinho in making the move a regular part of their armoury.

    Since, Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo has become a frequent exponent of the move.

    However, on this occasion, we will use a video of Robinho demonstrating just how devastating a skill it can be when used at speed.

The Garrincha Feint

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    Brazilian forward Garrincha is regarded as one of the greatest dribblers of a football that the game has ever seen, and his famous "feint" still captures the imagination to this day.

    Shown right at the beginning of the video, the trick involves moving one's body, rather than the ball, in one direction, before sharply setting off in the opposite direction.

    The move was brought back to life this past week by current Botafogo No. 10 Clarence Seedorf, in a move that has once more brought "the joy of the people," Garrincha, back into the headlines (101 Great Goals).

The Ronaldo Wraparound

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    The wraparound is a trick that has returned to the public consciousness in the past year thanks to its usage by current Brazilian wonderkid Neymar.

    However, as shown in the video featured, the skill was actually previously used to great effect by his idol—the legendary Ronaldo.

    The move involves rolling the ball in one direction, before performing a single step over with the other leg as the original foot moves around the back of the now standing leg to poke the ball in a new direction.

    As shown, when performed well, the skill can be almost impossible to defend against. Fans of Neymar will no doubt hope that it is seen more on the European scene in years to come.


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