Footballers who express themselves and make the cauldron of pressure a mere playground are why we watch the game. 

They never seem to suffer the symptoms expectations and always play without shackles around their ankles; they're footballers first and foremost, but not far behind that, they're entertainers. 

Let's take a look at a few players who make the pitch their playground:

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Riyad Mahrez


The Algerian forward was often overlooked by teams at a young age because of his small, slender frame, but caught the attention of the world through his exquisite ball skills. 

Mahrez has since won the Premier League with Leicester and taken his playground skills onto the European stage, making the Champions League quarter finals with Leicester City. The former Le Havre man has arguably the quickest feet in the Premier League, and he is so fun to watch.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic


'Zlatan', as he so often refers to himself, honed his skills on the streets of Malmo as a young boy. The Swede has also revealed that he used to idolise the Brazilian Ronaldo and attempted to copy the forward's skills time and time again. 

Ibrahimovic has played for a plethora of top clubs in Europe, where fans from all over the world have been able to witness the 6' 5" striker manipulate the ball as if he was still playing in the playgrounds of Malmo. 

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Wilfried Zaha 


The Ivorian forward honed his skills in many a park around south London after moving to England as a child, where Crystal Palace scouts took notice and bought him to Selhurst Park. 

Since then, Zaha has developed a reputation as one of England's trickiest players. His numbers for take ons in recent years have been up there with Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr. and Eden Hazard. 

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Philippe Coutinho


The former Liverpool man epitomises the Brazilian flair and flamboyance so often associated with players from that part of the world. 

Coutinho's dribbling skills are up there with the best in the world, while the way in which he makes the game look effortless suggests he still views the pitch just as he did as an adolescent in his hometown. 

He has also become one of football's best long range shooters, and you can almost envisage him honing his skills in a Futsal cage in his hometown in Brazil. 

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Cristiano Ronaldo


Cristiano Ronaldo has become much more efficient in recent years as we've seen him cut out a lot of, perhaps unnecessary, skills. 

The Portugal captain still treats the game like a child in a playground does, such is the way he dominates and attempts the outrageous on the world stage. 

His qualities make him stand out amongst his inferior peers in the game, much like the way a Sixth Form student would if he were playing amongst a load of Year 7s. 

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Neymar Jr


Neymar Jr is widely renowned as football's best trickster, whilst his dribbling skills are not far behind that of Lionel Messi who perhaps just edges the Brazilian when it comes to close control. 

However, Neymar exemplifies the Brazilian flair that we have come to associate with players from South America, often toying with his opponents to the point where the only way they can get the ball of him is by fouling him. 

The PSG man is one of the game's best entertainers, and is a true joy to watch when he's at his best. 

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