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.
Moanes DABOUR – Grasshopper/Israel/14/05/1992
A leading striker in the Swiss league and a figurehead for a new wave of Israeli-Arab players. Made his Israel senior debut last year.
Andres D’ALESSANDRO – Internacional/ Jürgen Damm – Pachuca/Mexico/15/04/1981
Impish playmaker, now an idol in Brazil. Made his name with River Plate and spent several years in Europe.
Jurgen DAMM – Pachua/Mexico/07/11/1992
The Mexican league’s best player so far this season. Had a trial with Manchester United and likely to move to Europe as soon as he has an EU passport.
Dani ALVES – Barcelona/Brazil/06/05/1983
Star full-back for six seasons but Barca are stalling on a new deal.
DANILO – Porto/Brazil 15/7/1991
Bought from Pele’s old club Santos three years ago for €13million, Danilo Luiz da Silva – to give him his full name – has since developed into one of the most in-demand players in Europe. He is on the shopping list of the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United
DANNY – Zenit/Portugal/07/08/1983
Attacking midfielder who is captain of Europa League contenders Zenit. Has now spent a decade in the Russian league.
Matteo DARMIAN – Torino/Argentina/02/12/1989
Attacking right-back who emerged at international level last season and has impressed in Torino’s Europa League run.
Giorgian DE ARRASCAETA – Cruzeiro/Uruguay 01/06/1994
His virtues are obvious: quick feet, a good range of passing, capacity to get into the box and score, and an ability to give and receive the ball on the turn. Will be pressing for a starting place in this summer’s Copa America.
Kevin DE BRUYNE – Wolfsburg/Belgium/28/06/1991
Midfielder flourishing in the Bundesliga since moving from Chelsea in January.
Daniele DE ROSSI – Roma/Italy
The highest-paid player in Serie A with 100 caps for Italy. Midfielder who has remained loyal to Roma despite speculation of a move to England.
Steven DEFOUR – Anderlecht/Belgium/15/04/1988
Feisty midfielder who made a controversial return to Belgium from Porto last summer, angering fans of his former club, Standard Liege.
David DE GEA – Manchester Utd/Spain/07/11/1990
Amid the personnel changes and tactical tinkering during theLouis Van Gaal’s difficult first year at Manchester United, the one constant has been David De Gea. The Spaniard has played every minute of every league and cup match and now ranks among the elite of world goalkeeping talent.