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.
Central midfielder who has been a cornerstone of his national side even when not playing at his best for Spurs.
Clint DEMPSEY – Seattle Sounders/USA/09/03/1983
Goalscorer, national team captain and one of the highest earners in MLS. Did well at Fulham and Tottenham but failed to settle in London.
Memphis DEPAY – PSV/Holland/13/02/1994
Holland’s youngest World Cup goalscorer with his strike against Australia last summer. Fine form for PSV has Liverpool and others on his case.
Laurent DEPOITRE – Gent/Belgium/07/12/1988
Tall, powerful striker who is a regular scorer in Belgium. Joined Gent last summer but looking for a bigger league.
Mattia DESTRO – Milan/Italy/20/03/1991
Italian international striker who joined Milan on loan from Roma in the January transfer window in a bid for more playing time.
Angel DI MARIA – Manchester Utd/Argentina/14/02/1988
At £59.7m, a record signing for both United and English football. Yet to sparkle under Louis Van Gaal but a world-class talent.
Antonio DI NATALE – Udinese/Italy/13/10/1977
Veteran striker and twice Serie A’s leading scorer, he is set to retire this summer after a prolific career at unfashionable Udinese.
Marcelo DIAZ – Hamburg/Chile/30/12/1986
Midfielder and a crucial cog in the national side, holding things together to allow others to flourish. Moved to the Bundesliga from Basle in January.
Brice DJA DJEDJE – Marseille/Ivory Coast/23/12/1990
A former Paris Saint-Germain trainee, the Ivorian has been the standout performer in Marseille’s defence this season.