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.
Clinton NJIE – Lyon/Cameroon/15/08/1993
Forward who has been tipped for a long career in the Cameroon national side despite not yet playing regularly for Lyon.
Nicolas NKOULOU – Marseille/Cameroon/27/03/1990
Central defender and Cameroon captain. Popular figure with Marseille fans but is on the Premier League and La Liga radars.
Christian NOBOA – PAOK/Greece/09/04/1985
Midfielder who moved to Greece in January after eight years in Russia with Rubin Kazan and Dynamo Moscow. Key figure in the national team.
NOLITO – Celta/Spain/15/10/1986
Forward who failed to break through at Barca B under Luis Enrique but is now thriving at Vigo and earned a senior Spain debut in November.
Paul-Georges NTEP – Rennes/France/29/07/1992
Cameroon-born highly rated under-21 striker who is making plenty of waves with Rennes this season since a move from Auxerre.
Orjan NYLAND – Molde/Norway10/09/1990
Highly-rated keeper who has been linked with a transfer to a number of Premier League clubs. Bronze medallist at the 2013 Euro Under-21s.
Lucas OCAMPOS – Marseille/Argentina/11/07/1994
Winger and former River Plate wonder boy who has linked up with his countryman Marcelo Bielsa at Marseille on loan from Monaco.
Martin ODEGAARD – Real Madrid/Norway/17/12/1998
Norway’s youngest-ever international, he was signed by Real Madrid in January and placed in the B team.
Shinji OKAZAKI – Mainz/Japan/16/04/1986
The most successful Japanese forward in European club football, he has scored more than 30 Bundesliga goals for Stuttgart and now Mainz.
Rubin OKOTIE – 1860 Munich/Austria/06/06/1987
Striker in fine form for second-division 1860 this season. Born in Pakistan to Nigerian and Austrian parents and raised in Austria.