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Publisher's Summary

Ruud Gullit knows better than anyone else that to understand soccer you have to understand strategy. When he started playing soccer, his only "strategy" was to get the ball, outrun everyone else to the other end of the field, and score. At first it served him well, but as he advanced through the sport, he learned that it takes much more than speed to make a winning team. He worked his way from the Dutch junior leagues all the way to the legendary AC Milan, eventually retiring from the field to be a trainer, then a manager, and finally a commentator. Each step came with its own lessons, and its own unique perspective on the game. Having looked at soccer through just about every lens possible, Gullit is now sharing his own perspective.

Most spectators simply watch the ball, but in How to Watch Soccer, Gullit explains how to watch the whole game. He shows how every part of a match, from formations to corner kicks, all the way down to what the players do to influence the referees, is important. This exhaustive guide will change the way even the most die-hard fan watches the beautiful game.

©2016 Ruud Gullit; translation copyright 2016 by Sam Herman (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A passionate insider's approach to understanding a game that seems so simple but contains almost inexhaustible complexity." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about How to Watch Soccer

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Great book

More than I expected. The book is part auto biography of Ruud Gullit's life. Great stores of the game and educational. Highly recommend

6 people found this helpful

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Wonderful information

As a recent fan of futbol, I have a lot to learn about formations and tactics. This book helped a lot. Additionally, I enjoyed the narrator’s voice. I hope he’s narrated other books

1 person found this helpful

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Lacks structure and organization

I was optimistic about this book bc of the reviews and the pedigree of Gullit; however, I was largely disappointed.

This book lacks structure and organization. Gullit rambles on jumping from topic, to players, to commentary, to teams without having any cohesion or structure. I don't think I learned anything new from this book.

He also was blatantly wrong in some areas. He claims that Pep tried to bring 'tiki taka' to Bayern. This is a quote from Pep while he was at Bayern: "be yourselves. You need to dig into your own DNA. I hate tiki-taka. Tiki-taka means passing the ball for the sake of it, with no clear intention. And it's pointless. 

Don't believe what people say. Barca didn't do tiki-taka! It's completely made up! Don't believe a word of it! In all team sports, the secret is to overload one side of the pitch so that the opponent must tilt its own defence to cope. You overload on one side and draw them in so that they leave the other side weak. 

And when we've done all that, we attack and score from the other side. That's why you have to pass the ball, but only if you're doing it with a clear intention. It's only to overload the opponent, to draw them in and then to hit them with the sucker punch. That's what our game needs to be. Nothing to do with tiki-taka."


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Good Perspective

Enjoyed the listen, good perspective on literally every aspect of the game from a former Balon d'Or winner and coach. It had a bit of a rambling quality, like a series of long bullet points, often without a ton of obvious segue between points, but always interesting. Obviously heavily pointed towards Gullit's playing career at Feynoord, Milan, and Netherlands.