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.
Javier PASTORE – PSG/Argentina/20/06/1989
Argentinian midfielder who is beginning to fulfil his huge potential in his fourth season in Paris. Previously with Palermo in Serie A.
Alexandre PATO – Sao Paulo/Brazil/02/09/1989
Wonderkid striker for whom fame perhaps came too soon while at Milan. Moved back home to Corinthians but has done better on loan at Sao Paulo.
PAULO ANDRE – Cruzeiro/Brazil/20/08/1983
A voracious reader, he published a footballer’s diary of the 2011 season, full of thoughtful reflections on his chosen profession. During a lengthy injury in France he taught himself to paint and has staged an exhibition of his work with the proceeds going to charity. And his intelligence has also been placed at the service of the Brazilian game as one of the leaders behind the Bom Senso (“common sense”) movement – a player-led initiative aimed at improving an industry which currently operates ludicrously below potential.
Dmitri PAYET – Marseille/France/29/03/1987
Attacking midfielder who has provided more assists this season than any other player in Europe’s top leagues as his club challenge for the Ligue 1 crown.
PEDRO – Barcelona/Spain/28/07/1987
Forward or winger who has played a major role at Camp Nou but rarely gets the praise he deserves. Contracted until 2016 but may leave this summer.
Graziano PELLE – Southampton/Italy/15/07/1985
Journeyman striker who hit form in Holland at Feyenoord with 50 goals in 57 games and has continued in England this season.
PEPE – Real Madrid/Portugal/26/02/1983
Powerful Brazil-born centre-back whose gamesmanship and hard-man attitude have detracted from his fine footballing qualities.
Oribe PERALTA – America/Mexico/12/02/1984
Veteran striker who played in the World Cup and spearheads America, who consider themselves the “Ferrari” of the Mexican league this season.
Gaston PEREIRO – Nacional/Uruguay/11/06/1995
Montevideo-born lanky left-footed attacking midfielder who has been dubbed by some as a Uruguayan Socrates. His country’s big hope for the future.
Roberto PERERYA – Juventus/Argentina/07/01/1991
Former River Plate prodigy whose displays for Juventus, on loan from Udinese, have earned him a place in Argentina’s senior side.
Enzo PEREZ – Valencia/Uruguay/22/02/1986
The midfielder’s club form for Benfica earned him a 2014 World Cup spot with Argentina. Joined Valencia in January.