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.
Midfielder and graduate of the club’s academy, tipped to revive Portugal’s number 10 tradition in the style of Deco.
JOAO MOUTINHO – Monaco/Portugal/08/09/1986
Former Sporting Lisbon and Porto playmaker who is the “on-field boss” for Monaco. Also a crucial figure for his national side.
JOAOZINHO – Krasnodar/Brazil/25/12/1988
Midfielder who has been outstanding in his four years at Krasnodar. Was a champion in Bulgaria with Levski Sofia.
JONATHAS – Elche/Brazil/06/03/1989
Between goals and assists, Jonathas has provided more than 50 per cent of Elche’s goals this season. Until recently, he had been directly involved in every single goal the team had scored from open play. No player in La Liga has directly earned as many points for their team with goals and assists.
Jermaine JONES – New England Revolution/USA/03/11/1981
Feisty midfielder, who was born in Germany, where his father was a US soldier. Played in the Bundesliga before moving last year.
JONG Tae Se – Suwon/North Korea/02/03/1984
Striker born and raised in Japan who is now North Korea’s leading footballer. Has also played in Germany for Bochum and Cologne.
Luka JOVIC – Red Star/Serbia/23/12/1997
Forward tipped as Serbian football’s next wonderkid. Already a Red Star regular and being watched by a number of top clubs.
JUANFRAN – Atletico Madrid/Spain/09/01/1985
Attacking right-back who came through the ranks at city rivals Real Madrid but made his name at Osasuna. In Spain’s 2014 World Cup squad.
JULIO CESAR – Benfica/Brazil/03/09/1979
Seemingly broken mentally and physically by Brazil’s 7-1 World Cup humiliation by Germany – but what he has done at Benfica proves otherwise.
Zlatko JUNUZOVIC – Bremen/Austria/26/09/1987
Yugoslav-born Austrian international winger who has shone for struggling Bremen with assists and free-kicks.