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.
Giannis MANIATIS – Olympiakos/Greece/12/10/1986
Defensive midfielder and captain of his club side. Was a key figure for his country at both the 2012 European Championship and the 2014 World Cup.
Kostas MANOLAS – Roma/Greece/14/06/1991
Centre-back who left Olympiakos last summer and has quickly impressed with his performances in Serie A for his new side.
MARCELO – Real Madrid/Brazil/12/05/1988
Attacking left-back who was made one of the scapegoats for Brazil’s World Cup humiliation but is now back in the squad.
Lazar MARKOVIC – Liverpool/Serbia/02/03/1994
Midfielder who excelled in a single season with Benfica has quickly adapted to a new wing-back role at Liverpool during this campaign.
MARQUIINHOS – PSG/Brazil/14/05/1994
Central defender who club coach Laurent Blanc says is the “future of PSG”. In the plans of returning Brazil boss Dunga.
Anthony MARTIAL – Monaco/France/05/12/1995
Much talked about striker who has played for France at all levels. Switched to Monaco from Lyon in 2013 for a fee of ¤3m plus add-ons.
Jackson MARTINEZ – Porto/Colombia/03/10/1986
Centre-forward who is upholding Porto’s fine tradition of unearthing outstanding South American goalscorers.
Obafemi MARTINS – Seattle Sounders/Nigeria/28/10/1984
Enjoying a revival of his career in America after it looked to have petered out during his time in Russia.
Javier MASCHERANO – Barcelona/Argentina/08/06/1984
Raised as a central midfielder in Argentina but now more likely to be found playing at centre-back.
Arthur MASUAKU – Olympiakos/France/07/11/1993
Under-21 left-back who has impressed during his first season in Greece, prompting much talk of a move to Serie A.