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.
Lionel MESSI – Barcelona/Argentina/24/06/1987
Messi’s mental strength is often overlooked in the rush to praise his goals and multiple assists. Would Messi’s ego ever prompt him to leave the club that has nurtured him since the age of 13? The new Premier League TV deal, which will boost the coffers of England’s leading clubs by around £100million each per season, makes such talk less fanciful that it sounds.
Thomas MEUNIER – Club Brugge/Belgium/12/09/1991
Former under-21 right-back who scored on his club debut and is on the fringes of the Belgium squad. Linked with a transfer to a bigger league.
Max MEYER – Schalke/Germany/18/09/1995
Skilful, speedy attacking midfielder who made a dramatic impact for Schalke last season, leading to a first senior cap for Germany.
Sebastian MILA – Lechia Gdansk/Poland/10/07/1982
Midfielder who has been an outstanding performer in the Polish league in recent seasons, earning an international recall.
Arek MILIK – Ajax/Poland/28/02/1994
One of Polish football’s brightest talents, on loan in Holland from Bayer Leverkusen. Scored in Poland’s 2-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win against Germany.
Diego MILITO – Racing Club/Argentina/12/06/1979
Now back in Argentina, playing for his boyhood club. Scored both goals for Internazionale in the 2010 Champions League Final win over Bayern Munich.
Alex MILOSEVIC – Besiktas/Sweden/30/01/1992
Swedish defender who was on the radar of a number of top clubs while at AIK, but moved to Turkey in January.
Kevin MIRALLAS – Everton/Belgium/05/10/1987
Versatile forward who has been a valuable weapon for Everton but is keen to move to a Champions League club this summer.
MIRANDA – Atletico Madrid/Brazil/07/09/1984
Centre-back who has played a central role in Atletico’s successes of recent seasons. Linked with a big-money transfer to England.
Aleksandar MITROVIC – Anderlecht/Serbia/16/09/1994
Raw and hot-headed forward who has excelled in Belgium over the past two seasons.