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.

TAGS:
Alex TZIOLIS – PAOK/Greece/13/02/1985

Much-travelled defensive midfielder who has played in Germany, Italy, Spain and France, and remains a mainstay of his national side.

Atsuto UCHIDA Schalke/Japan/27/03/1988

Dynamic right-back who missed the 2015 Asian Cup through injury but has been a key figure for Japan since his debut as a teenager in 2008.

Samuel UMTITI – Lyon/France/14/11/1993

Cameroon-born centre-half who has been Lyon’s most impressive defender this season. An under-20 world champion with France.

Jonathan URRETEVISCAYA – Penarol/Uruguay/19/03/1990

Strong and skilful winger who should have achieved more in his career. Now back home after six years in Portugal.

Mathieu VALBUENA – Dynamo Moscow/France/28/09/1984

Dynamic, diminutive striker who is used mostly on the right side of attack. Left Marseille last summer for the Russian league.

Jaime VALDES – Colo Colo/Chile/11/01/1981

Returned home last year after over a decade in Europe. Plays a deep midfield role, from where his range of passing makes a big impression.

Jorge VALDIVIA – Palmeiras/Chile/19/10/1983

Talented playmaker who is a joy to watch on his day. However, his frequent absence through injury make some question his cost-to-benefit ratio.

Enner VALENCIA – West Ham/Ecuador/04/11/1989

Quick striker, previously a winger, who has risen rapidly over the past two years. Signed on the back of his World Cup displays.

Robin VAN PERSIE – Manchester Utd/Holland/06/08/1983

Robin Van Persie scores with a wonderful diving header.

Robin Van Persie scores with a wonderful diving header.

Captain of Holland and still a key figure for United despite injuries that have curtailed his influence this season.

Hans VANAKEN – Lokeren/Belgium/24/08/1992

Highly rated attacking midfielder, the former PSV trainee has thrived at Lokeren over the past two seasons. Capped at under-20 and under-21 level.

  1. 1. Introduction
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