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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Santi CAZORLA – Arsenal/Spain/13/12/1984

Experienced Spain international. Known as a winger or attacking midfielder but has excelled for Arsenal this season in a deeper role.

Denis CHERYSHEV – Villarreal/Russia/26/12/1990

Versatile attacker impressing for Villarreal, but could return to parent club Real Madrid. Father Dmitri played for Sporting Gijon.

Giorgian DE ARRASCAETA – Cruzeiro/Uruguay/01/06/1994

Sunil CHHETRI – Bengaluru/India/03/08/1984

India’s captain and record goalscorer. Did not take part in the recent Indian Super League because he was contracted to the rival I-League.

Giorgio CHIELLINI – Juventus/Italy/14/08/1984

Luis Suarez Giorgio Chiellini

Left-sided central defender and no-nonsense organiser of Juventus’ backline. The “other man” in the Luis Suarez biting incident at the World Cup.

Alexandru CHIPCIU – Steaua/Romania/18/05/1989

Key attacking figure for Romania’s biggest club and set to play a big role in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Eric-Maxim CHOUPO-MOTING – Schalke/Cameroon/23/03/1989

German-born under-21 striker who opted to play for Cameroon at senior level. Arrived at Schalke from Mainz.

CICINHO – Sivasspor/Brazil/24/06/1980

Veteran full-back who has enjoyed an Indian summer in Turkey, playing for former Real Madrid team-mate Roberto Carlos until he stepped down.

Jasper CILESSEN – Ajax/Holland/22/04/1989

Calm, reliable keeper. Holland’s first-choice at the World Cup, apart from in the shoot-out against Costa Rica, when he was replaced by Tim Krul.

Jordy CLASIE – Feyenoord/Holland/27/06/1991

Diminutive midfielder, once considered too small to play professional football, now captain of Feyenoord. Holland Under-21 international.

  1. 1. Introduction
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