We have endeavoured to compile a list of the world’s most talked-about players – the most newsworthy players who, by definition, are the most important. We started by drawing up a list of the key players by league – starting with 50 each for the leading leagues in Europe (England, Germany, Spain), 40 for France and Italy, between 15 and 25 for middle-ranking leagues, and ending with between five and 10 for smaller leagues. We then added players who were important figures for their national sides and in their respective regions.
Midfield prospect who joined Juventus last summer after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired – raising comparisons with Paul Pogba.
Dario CONCA – Shanghai/Argentina/11/05/1983
Twice voted player of the year in the Brazilian championship but opted to earn millions in China rather than try his luck in Europe.
Kevin CONSTANT – Trabzonspor/Guinea/10/05/1987
Walked off last season in protest at racist fans while playing for Milan. French-born, capped at under-17 level, but now plays for Guinea.
Ante CORIC – Dinamo Zagreb/Croatia/14/4/1997
Midfield wonderkid hailed as the next big thing in Croatia. Capped at under-21 level and Bayern Munich are said to be keen on him.
Jesus CORONA – Twente/Mexico/06/01/1993
Highly rated winger who made his international debut in November, against Holland, having moved to Europe from Monterrey in 2013.
Angel CORREA – Atletico Madrid/Argentina/09/03/1995
Star of the South American Under-20 championship. His progress at Atletico has been held up by a heart condition.
Diego COSTA – Chelsea/Spain/07/10/1988
Rumbustious striker who has spearheaded Chelsea’s challenge this season. Had eight clubs in Spain and Portugal before moving to England.
Thibaut COURTOIS – Chelsea/Belgium/11/05/1992
Arguably the world’s top keeper after three successful seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid. From a family of volleyball players.
Philippe COUTINHO – Liverpool/Brazil/12/06/1992
After a first season at Liverpool when he was a sideshow to the main attraction of Luis Suarez, Coutinho’s second campaign has seen him take centre stage, scoring spectacular goals as his side set their sights on the FA Cup and a top four place in the Premier League.
Juan CUADRADO – Chelsea/Colombia/26/05/1988
Speedy winger and a star of Colombia’s run to the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals. Must now live up to his £27m pricetag.