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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Xherdan SHAQIRI – Inter/Switzerland/10/10/1991

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri

Mercurial midfielder who moved to Serie A from Bayern Munich in January in an attempt to get more starting time.

Roman SHIRIKOV – Krasnodar/Russia/06/07/1991

National captain who missed the 2014 World Cup with a knee injury. Left Zenit last year following a contract dispute.

Gylfi SIGURDSSON – Swansea/Iceland/08/09/1989

Playmaker and free-kick specialist who is enjoying life back at Swansea after a spell at Tottenham.

David SILVA – Manchester City/Spain/08/01/1986

Arguably more important to City than Sergio Aguero as the brains behind the team’s best attacking moves.

Gio SIMEONE – River Plate/Argentina/05/07/1995

Scored eight goals in the recent South American Under-20 Championship and is the son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone.

Moses SIMON – Genk/Nigeria/12/07/1995

Speedy attacker with strong dribbling skills. Moved to Belgium in January after a spell in the Slovakian league, having previously been with Ajax.

Daley SINKGRAVEN Heerenveen/Holland/04/07/1995

Exciting attacking midfielder who joined Ajax from Heerenveen in January for ¤7m. Current Dutch under-21 international.

Moussa SISSOKO – Newcastle/France/16/08/1989

Box-to-box midfielder who has been his club’s best player this season – so is likely to be the next player sold by Mike Ashley.

Pione SISTO – Midtjylland/Denmark/04/02/1995

Uganda-born Danish under-21 international. A striker, he was the 2014 Danish league player of the year and is Denmark’s biggest domestic talent.

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