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.
Cuuahtémoc BLANCO – Puebla/Mexico/17/01/1973
One of Mexico’s greatest players, he is still active, though he will retire at the end of this season to pursue a political career.
Daley BLIND – Manchester Utd/Holland/09/03/1990
Flexible, Ajax-schooled defender or midfielder central to Louis Van Gaal’s “philosophy” at United. Son of former Ajax captain Danny.
Jerome BOATENG – Bayern/Germany/03/09/1988
Struggled in a season at Manchester City but is now first choice for club and country. Half-
brother of Ghana’s Kevin-Prince.
Miller BOLANOS – Emelec/Ecuador/01/06/1990
Quick, strong striker who exploded last year as the best player in Ecuador and has been racking up the goals in international club competitions.
Yannick BOLASIE – Crystal Palace/DR Congo/24/05/1989
French-born winger with electric feet and unpredictable skills. Plays a more central attacking role for DR Congo.
Giacomo BONAVENTURA Milan/Italy/22/08/1989
Attacking midfielder with a habit of scoring spectacular goals. Enjoying a first season at Milan after moving from Atalanta.
Wilfried BONY – Manchester City/Ivory Coast/10/12/1988
Powerful striker who was prolific at Vitesse and Swansea City but now has to be content with a place on the Manchester City bench.
Alberto BOTIA – Olympiakos/Spain/27/01/1989
Centre-back and former Barcelona trainee. Had spells with Sporting Gijon, Sevilla and Elche before moving to Greece last summer.
Gustavo BOU – Racing/Argentina/18/02/1990
A late bloomer, his consistency in front of goal with Racing launched him into the public eye and has led to his name being mentioned as a possible call-up to the national team. It may be something of a push to expect him to break into a squad which is top heavy with world-class attacking quality.
John BOYE – Erciyesspor/Ghana/23/04/1987
Versatile defender or defensive midfielder and key figure for Ghana after impressive displays at the 2015 African Nations Cup.