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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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

Jackson Martinez

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.

  1. 1. Introduction
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