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.

TAGS:
Christian ATSU – Everton/Ghana/10/01/1992

Winger who is on loan at Goodison Park from Chelsea. Was in outstanding form as Ghana reached the African Nations Cup Final in February.

Pierre-Emerick AUBAMEYANG – Dortmund/Gabon/18/06/1989

Striker or wide attacker, one of African football’s leading forwards. Has found his feet at Dortmund this season.

Serge AURIER – PSG/Ivory Coast/24/12/1992

Attacking right-back for the African champions. His loan from Toulouse is seen as a bid by PSG to get round Financial Fairplay regulations.

Irwin AVILA – Sporting Cristal/Peru/02/07/1990

Nippy little striker who played a major part in his club’s league titles of 2012 and 2014. The jury is still out on whether he can tip the balance for his country.

Andre AYEW – Marseille/Ghana/17/12/1989

Leading striker for club and country who led Ghana to the 2015 African Nations Cup Final. The son of legendary Ghana forward Abedi Pele.

Sardar AZMOUN – Rubin Kazan/ Iran/1/1/1995

Iran’s young player of the year, making waves in the Russian league, and who impressed at the recent Asian Cup. On loan from Rubin Kazan.

Cesar AZPILICUETA – Chelsea/Spain/28/08/1989

Versatile defender who displaced Ashley Cole as Chelsea’s first-choice left-back. Has represented his country from under-16 upwards.

Demba BA – Besiktas/Senegal/25/05/1985

French-born Senegalese striker who is enjoying a prolific first season in Turkey after being sold by Chelsea last summer.

Abdul Rahman BABA – Augsburg/Ghana/02/07/1994

Whether bursting forward on the overlap, putting in good quality crosses, biting into the tackle, or providing cover and maintaining tactical discipline, the 20-year-old from the northern Ghanaian city of Tamale does a fine job in all areas.

Carlos BACCA – Sevilla/Colombia/08/09/1986

Striker on song for Sevilla. Late starter who worked as a bus conductor and sold fish before Colombian top-flight debut at 23.

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