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.
Stefan KIESSLING – Leverkusen/Germany/25/01/1984
Target man who has been a regular scorer in the Bundesliga but has failed to convince Germany boss Joachim Low of his value.
Joshua KIMMICH – RB Lepizig/Germany/08/02/1995
A prominent figure in the Germany side that captured the European Under-19 title in Hungary last year and part of the under-21 set-up since October, Kimmich unquestionably has all the raw ingredients to be a success. He reads the game well, oozes dynamism and bravery, is strong in the tackle and in the air, and is an exceptional midfield link man, thoughtful and accurate in his passing, imaginative with his final ball and never happier than when taking charge.
Davy KLASSEN – Ajax/Holland/21/02/1993
Attacking midfielder who was hailed as a wonderkid when he scored on his Ajax debut after 42 seconds. Has played for Holland from under-16 upwards.
Robin KNOCHE – Wolfsburg/Germany/22/05/1992
Centre-back and one of the Bundesliga’s brightest defensive options. Has formed a highly effective partnership with Naldo this season.
KOKE – Atletico Madrid/Spain/08/01/1992
A midfield product of Atletico’s youth system and now the chief creative force. Has become an important part of Spain’s post World Cup senior side.
Alexander KOKORIN – Dynamo Moscow/Russia/19/03/1991
First-choice striker for the national side. Has played all his career at Dynamo, save for a spell at Anzhi in 2013.
Dimitris KOLOVOS – Panionios/Greece/27/04/1993
Attacking midfielder, widely touted as one of the biggest talents in Greek football. Thriving back at his first club Panionios, on loan from Olympiakos.
Vincent KOMPANY – Manchester City/Belgium/10/04/1986
Captain of club and country, he is one of the Premier League’s most accomplished central defenders, despite a recent dip in form.
Charles KONDOGBIA – Monaco/France/15/02/1993
Tall, powerful central midfielder who has represented France at every level from the age of 16. Previously with Sevilla in Spain.
Kalidou KOULIBALY – Napoli/France/20/06/1991
Former Metz youth star, a versatile defender who has been an adept signing for Napoli since moving from Belgium’s Genk last summer.