Chelsea embark on their mission to be crowned the best team in the world over the coming days with their debut participation in the FIFA Club World Cup, which takes place in Japan.
The blues will play their semifinal match against Mexican side Monterrey in the city of Yokohama, by which time they will already know their potential final match opponents. Brazilian outfit Corinthians face Egyptian giants Al-Ahly the day previously.
Having seen South American sides win three editions of the tournament in a row up to 2006, the past five Club World Cups have been won by European sides with Inter and AC Milan both winning once, Manchester United doing similarly and Barcelona picking up two victories.
Inter's boss for their 2010 victory was current Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez—who was also in charge of Liverpool when they finished runners-up in 2005.
The final of this year's tournament will be played on December 16.
Here are five players to watch out for during the FIFA Club World Cup.
Al Ahly are in the semifinals, having overcome Japanese outfit Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the quarterfinals by two goals to one. The Japanese team, in turn, had already beaten Auckland City of New Zealand in a qualifying match with a score of 1-0.
The star of the Egyptian side is Mohamed Aboutrika, who was on target with his team's winning goal in the previous round.
The veteran attacker was part of the Egypt squad in the London Olympics this past summer and has long been an integral part of the national team, with almost a century of caps.
At 34 years old, his best is behind him. But this is perhaps the biggest stage left to play on in his career. Don't put it past him to come up with a final magnificent performance that shocks everyone.
With the Egyptian domestic league having been cancelled, the team have had plenty of time to prepare for this shot at glory. Corinthians stand in their way.
Corinthians' biggest star right now is central midfielder Paulinho. He will not only be key to their hopes of winning the FIFA Club World Cup, but will also be hoping to shine against one of Europe's top teams in order to convince potential suitors that he is good enough.
While the Daily Mail jumped the gun in summer in linking him to Arsenal, it seems like it won't be long before the dynamic midfielder leaves his native Brazil. Mirror Football has him top of Roberto Mancini's wanted list for January.
Paulinho does a fine job of working between both penalty areas, winning the ball and working hard for the team but also putting in plenty of effort and quality in the attacking third.
Against Al Ahly, he may get a chance to shine in both jobs, while a potential final against Chelsea might see him restricted to more of a holding role in a double pivot with Ralf.
Chelsea will head to Japan with hopes of winning the trophy. Their most in-form player this season, Juan Mata, will be key to making the dream a reality.
Playing either centrally or from a right-sided role, Mata has already scored 10 goals and made 13 assists in all competitions this season, a phenomenal record for the midway point of the season.
Rafael Benitez is still bringing together the side since taking over from Roberto Di Matteo, but Mata will be key to his plans in both making the team consistent in victory and also getting the best out of Fernando Torres.
Chelsea will fancy their chances of bringing home the trophy. The first match against Monterrey should present an opportunity to qualify for the final, if they can bring their form from the Sunderland match.
As Rafa Benitez gets to work on his new team, one of the first areas he needs to address is the defence.
Chelsea have hardly been porous, conceding 17 goals in their 16 Premier League games so far and allowing an average of only 12.4 shots against per game. But they have continually needed to swap central defensive partners due to injury or suspension.
If any hesitancy or uncertain behaviour befalls them against Monterrey, then striker Humberto Suazo is the man who will likely punish the Blues for it.
The Chilean forward has over 20 goals at international level and has scored six league goals this season for Monterrey.
Though not the tallest, he is strong and quick and possesses a good shot. Having spent most of his career in Chile and Mexico, save for a relatively short loan spell in Spain, Suazo may feel he has a point to prove in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Having initially made such a good impression as part of Chelsea's front three midfielders, Oscar has missed out in the past few weeks and will want to use the FIFA Club World Cup to show Rafa Benitez his qualities.
With the final just three days after Chelsea's semifinal match, the manager will likely rotate his side to some extent, meaning the Brazilian playmaker should see at least some game time.
In addition, the former Internacional attacker will be hoping to figure against Brazilian side Corinthians should the two sides meet in the final.
A slower pace of match with more space to operate in might be just what Oscar needs to really dazzle the opposition with his technical abilities and movement. And to propel himself right back into the first XI for Chelsea's Christmas fixture list.
Statistics from WhoScored.com