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 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
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.