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.

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Moussa DEMBELE – Tottenham/Belgium/16/07/1987

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

Angel Di Maria

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.

  1. 1. Introduction
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