Freestyle Soccer Players Compete on YouTube

The World Cup competition is on the field. The trick competition is online.

While the best soccer players on Earth square off against each other in Brazil, the world’s best ball handlers are competing for view online, where outrageous videos go viral and fame is only an impossibly intricate trick away. They may never been named “Man of the Match,” but freestyle players are playing a game even older than soccer: one-upmanship. Here are the guys with the best ball skills on Earth.

Kotaro Tokuda

Tokuda super-produced “Samurai in Brazil” spot, which hit the internet just in time for the world’s biggest tournament, features a dribbler with otherworldly skills dropping some incredible moves in soccer’s holy land. Yes, it does turn out to be an advertisement for Cup o’ Noodles, but that somehow fails to diminish the awesomeness of the samurai outfit and that back flip, ball catch move, which probably required hundred of takes and is still outrageously impressive. Tokuda is as inventive as he is fearless.

Remi Gaillard

Remi Gaillard’s insane trick shot have made him famous in his native France, but his most recent video is bound to get the ball-handler international renown. At eight minutes, it’s a little long, but you can check the highlights at 0:33, 1:36, 4:13, and 6:40. The man is almost a performance artist and he may be the world champion of casually walking away after doing something awesome.

Sean Garnier

Street performer Sean Garnier absolutely schools the eager Londoners who try to take him on in this clip. We wouldn’t go so far as to call his moves “game-legal” (refs usually frown on deflecting the ball into your shirt unless you’ve just scored), but we’ll take his slap-happy dribbling over a mime’s invisible antics any day.

Hoai-Nam Nguyen

The reel of Nam the Man taking down unsuspecting opponents is soccer’s answer to an And1mixtape, as he expertly mows down players who thought they were just getting into a run-of-the-mill street game. Turns out they brought a knife to a gunfight – or a butter knife to a fencing match.