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.
Marco REUS – Dortmund/Germany/31/05/1989
Mercurial left-winger who missed the World Cup through injury and recently agreed to extend his contract at Dortmund.
Franck RIBERY – Bayern/France/07/04/1983
Even though he has won multiple titles with Bayern Munich in Germany, his relationship with the country of his birth has broken down irreconcilably. In August 2014, he announced his international retirement at the age of 31 – a decision that prompted a furious reaction from Michel Platini, who threatened him with a club ban.
Cristian RIVEROS – Olimpia/Paraguay/16/10/1982
Stalwart national-team midfielder, excellent at ghosting into the penalty box. Has just come home after spells in Mexico, England, Turkey and Brazil.
Arjen ROBBEN – Bayern/Holland/23/01/1984
Brilliant winger who seems to get better with age. Stronger than ever and thriving under Pep Guardiola’s guidance in Munich.
ROBINHO – Santos/Brazil/25/01/1984
Never quite lived up to the intense hype that once surrounded him, but the skilful striker, a surprise omission from the World Cup, is still in the Brazil squad.
Sebastian RODE – Bayern/Germany/11/10/1990
Central midfielder who has played more than was expected since his move from Eintracht Frankfurt last summer.
James RODRIGUEZ – Real Madrid/Colombia/12/07/1991
Elevated to galactico status by his superb performances at the 2014 World Cup, but injuries have limited his impact at Real.
Maxi RODRIGUEZ – Newell’s/Argentina/02/01/1981
Winger who is back as captain of his first club after spells in Spain and England. Veteran of three World Cups, still playing for Argentina.
Ricardo RODRIGUEZ – Wolfsburg/Switzerland/25/08/1992
Left-back who has thrived at Wolfsburg. Well established as the Swiss national team’s first choice.
Rogerio CENI – Sao Paulo/Brazil/22/01/1973
Goalscoring goalkeeper who has racked up over 120 goals in his career. Retires at the end of this season.