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.
Centre-back signed by Real Madrid while still a teenager. However, not first-choice in Madrid and reportedly coveted by Chelsea.
Victor VAZQUEZ – Club Brugge/Spain/20/01/1987
Former team-mate of Lionel Messi at Barcelona’s academy, his career has been injury-hit but he has carved out a role as a playmaker in Belgium.
Carlos VELA – Real Sociedad/Mexico/01/03/1989
Mexico’s leading player, he returned to the national side last autumn after a controversial two-year absence.
Pablo VELAZQUEZ – Atletico Nacional/ Paraguay/12/03/1987
Lanky left-footed striker recently signed after a successful spell in Mexico. Could succeed Roque Santa Cruz as the leader of the Paraguay attack.
Paul VERHAEGH – Augsburg/Holland/01/09/1983
Right-back who has earned late international recognition as captain of Augsburg in their rise up the Bundesliga.
Kenneth VERMEER – Feyenoord/Holland/10/01/1986
Goalkeeper who has impressed since leaving Ajax last summer in search of first-team football with their great rivals.
Marco VERRATTI – PSG/Italy/05/11/1992
Midfielder who has been a huge success at PSG since moving to Ligue 1 from Pescara for ¤12m as a teenager.
Jan VERTONGHEN – Tottenham/Belgium/24/04/1987
Plays centre-half for his club and left-back for his club. Has won over a sceptical Mauricio Pocchetino this season.
Lasse VIBE – IFK/Denmark/22/02/1987
Attacker who has been prolific in the Swedish league for the past two years. A late developer, he made his senior Denmark debut last autumn.
Arturo VIDAL – Juventus/Chile/22/05/1987
Midfield powerhouse whose form has dipped this season following injuries and the collapse of a planned transfer to Manchester United last summer.
Luciano VIETTO – Villarreal/Argentina/05/12/1993
Striker who is in sparkling form since moving to La Liga last summer. Close to a senior call-up for Argentina.