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.

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Trent SAINSBURY – PEC Zwolle/Australia/05/01/1992

Central defender who was an Asian Cup winner with Australia and who also holds a UK passport. Moved to Holland last year.

Diafra SAKHO – West Ham/Senegal/24/12/1989

Regular scorer since this season, but missed the African Nations Cup through injury, prompting FIFA to fine West Ham £70,000.

Mohamed SALAH – Fiorentina/Egypt/15/06/1992

Not only does Salah currently look like the sharpest striker in Serie A. In the space of less than a month his goals have put Fiorentina into the last 8 of the Europa League, back in the hunt for a Champions League place and given them a terrific opportunity to make their second consecutive Italian Cup Final appearance.

Alexis SANCHEZ – Arsenal/Chile/19/12/1988

Stubborn, stocky, skilful forward who has revelled in his star status at Arsenal since his summer move from loveless Barcelona.

Roque SANTA CRUZ – Cruz Azul/Paraguay/16/08/1981

Has the biggest salary in Liga MX, but has been a big disappointment so far this season.

Fabian SCHAR – Basel/ Switzerland/20/12/1991

Central defender who has been a formidable force for the past two years. Presents a great aerial threat at set-pieces. Linked with a move abroad.

Andre SCHURRLE – Wolfsburg/German/06/11/1990

World Cup-winning forward who is back in the Bundesliga after being deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea by manager Jose Mourinho.

Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER – Bayern/Germany/01/08/1984

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Central midfielder with more than 100 caps for Germany. Clever reader of the game, with a fierce shot.

Davie SELKE – Bremen/Germany/20/01/1995

A talented striker who was the tournament’s top goalscorer when Germany won the 2014 Euro Under-19 Championship.

Thulani SERERO – Ajax/South Africa/11/04/1990

South Africa’s most high-profile player but was left out of the 2015 African Nations Cup squad after playing in the qualifiers.

  1. 1. Introduction
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