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.
Romel QUINONEZ – Bolivar/Bolivia/25/06/1992
Could grow into one of Bolivia’s finest ever goalkeepers. Confident figure who seeks to command his area. Came through Bolivar’s youth ranks.
RAFA SILVA – Braga/Portugal/17/05/1993
Conpared to Chelsea’s Eden Hazard as both are diminutive dribbling machines who are quick, tricky, two-footed and experts in the art of improvisation. In spite of all his feints, spins and changes of direction, Rafa Silva always seems to have the ball on a string and, for someone so raw, he has an incredible ability to locate space between the lines.
Andrea RAGGI – Monaco/France/24/06/1994
Defender who doesn’t get many headlines but is a hugely influential figure at Monaco as club captain. In his third season after signing from Bologna.
Ivan RAKITIC – Barcelona/Croatia/10/03/1988
Midfielder signed from Sevilla last summer and seen as a key figure in Luis Enrique’s new, more direct playing style at Barca.
RAMIRES – Chelsea/Brazil/24/03/1987
Combative and hard- running midfielder who helped Chelsea win the League Cup after being sidelined for much of the current campaign through injury.
Aaron RAMSEY – Arsenal/Wales/26/12/1990
Extremely talented but injury-prone goalscoring midfielder. Key figure in Wales’ bid to qualify for Euro 2016. A former Cardiff City youth product.
Sergio RAMOS – Real Madrid/Spain/30/03/1986
Ramos is the defender with an attacker’s soul. There is possibly no one more dangerous from corners and set-plays: he’s scored more career goals than Andres Iniesta. While he may not wear the armband, he is the de facto captain of Real Madrid.
Alvaro RECOBA – Nacional/Uruguay/17/03/1976
One-time golden boy who hasn’t lost the air of a mischievous adolescent. Can still do damage off the bench with free kicks.
Winston REID – West Ham/New Zealand/03/07/1988
Powerful Danish-raised centre-back, New Zealand captain. Chased by many top clubs but signed a new deal with West Ham.