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.
Central midfielder who featured in all Nigeria’s games at Brazil 2014. Has excelled at Lazio since moving to Italy after playing in the Under-17 World Cup.
OSACR – Chelsea/Brazil/09/09/1991
Creative midfielder whose defensive qualities have made him a vital piece of the Mourinho jigsaw at Stamford Bridge. A key figure for Brazil.
Dani OSVALDO – Boca Juniors/Italy/12/01/1986
Despite a troubled past 18 months, the forward still has star appeal. His signing in January was a major coup for the Argentinian league.
Nicolas OTAMENDI – Valencia/Argentina/12/02/1988
Centre-back in fine form for Valencia this season after a spell on loan at Atletico Mineiro in Brazil.
Dennis PRAET – Anderlecht/Belgium/14/05/1994
After impressing on the left wing in the second-half of last season, and making an excellent contribution to yet another national title for his club, he has proved even more valuable this term as a number 10, becoming in the space of just a few months the Brussels side’s undisputed leader, the individual that his team-mates principally look to for their inspiration and strategy.
Romulo OTERO – Caracas/Venezuela/09/11/1992
Attacking midfielder with tricky dribbling skills who is also a free-kick specialist. A leading member of a promising new Venezuelan generation.
Alex OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN – Arsenal/England/15/08/1993
He has overcome injury setbacks to make steady progress, moving from being a winger to a versatile attacking midfielder.
Mesut OZIL – Arsenal/Germany/15/10/1988
Criticised for below-par displays since a £42m move from Real Madrid, the number 10 still produces an impressive number of assists.
Leandro PAREDES – Roma/Argentina/29/06/1994
Former Boca Juniors starlet who moved to Italy last summer. The attacking midfielder has so far been used sparingly by Roma, but remains a huge talent.
Dani PAREJO – Valencia/Spain/16/04/1989
Former Real Madrid trainee who is now firmly established at Valencia and has been top scorer in their pursuit of a Champions League place.