With the new season fast approaching in Europe, clubs across the continent are preparing themselves for the new campaign: Preseason tours are being undertaken, friendly matches are in full flow and transfers are being conducted left, right and centre.
Soon enough national leagues will be back underway and European competitions will have emerged from the phony war of the qualification rounds and will see the real action commence.
With all that being said, here's a look at 16 players from each of European football's top clubs, and how they will help define their sides season in 2013-14.
The irrepressible Italian international striker has been a revelation since signing for the Rossoneri in January and his goals played a major part in Milan's tremendous second half to 2012-13.
Appearing more at home there than he ever did with either of his previous clubs, the 22-year-old showed his quality as the undisputed main man in Massimiliano Allegri's forward line.
His 12 goals in 13 matches propelled Milan into the final of Italy's Champions League places and his all-round showings as a genuine—he would subsequently continue whilst in an Azzurri shirt at the Confederations Cup—offered Milan an outlet full of pace, power and technique which had been sorely lacking prior to his arrival.
2013-14 will be the campaign which defines Balotelli: For all the shenanigans which have gone before, this will be the first season (in its entirety) where he is the undoubted focal point of an attack, both for club and country, and where he must lead from the front.
His will be a massive say in whether or not Milan challenge for honours.
A wonderful passer, a jinking runner and a fantastic player. But so very fragile. Jack Wilshere is the perfect embodiment of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal in recent times.
When he's fit and at his best, the England man is an absolutely fantastic player, capable of dissecting the opposition with either a clever pass or a driving run. The problem however remains that, like his team, his best hasn't been seen often enough in recent years.
2013-14 is the term when the 21-year-old Wilshere needs to put all the question marks over his injury troubles behind him to truly emerge as a genuine world-class midfielder.
With all the comings and goings at the top of the Premier League and with Arsene Wenger having vast resources at his disposal, this could be the season where the Gunners win their first major trophy since 2005.
However, they, like Wilshere, must cast aside the fragility—both physical and mental—which has plagued them so much in the recent past.
The big question for Diego Simeone and Los Rojiblancos this summer was how to replace Radamel Falcao, their brilliant and often decisive centre-forward.
The answer was to purchase Spain's greatest goalscorer on the international stage, a man who has World Cup, European Championship, Champions League and La Liga (the list goes on) winners medals in his pocket: David Villa.
Now 31, El Guaje arrives at the Vicente Calderon in search of regular first-team football following a couple of injury-hit campaigns. For a meagre €5.1 million, he could prove a bargain with his mixture of stealthy movement and clinical finishing.
How the man with 56 international goals to his name fits in at Atletico will determine whether or not Simeone's side can continue their tremendous run since the Argentine's arrival: Europa League, Spanish Cup and European Super Cup successes have all been forthcoming in the 18 months since Simeone succeeded Gregorio Manzano, whilst they also finished third in La Liga in 2012-13.
A move towards 4-4-2 last season saw Falcao partnered by Diego Costa and Villa may well thrive alongside the awkward but powerful Brazilian.
Supporters of Atleti will certainly hope so.
The four-time Ballon d'Or winner scored 60 goals in all competitions once again last seasons, with 46 in the League as Los Cules romped to the league title.
Heading into 2013-14, the Argentine international skipper will once again be the man who Barcelona and their new manager Gerardo Martino look toward to be decisive in the final third.
The most devastating footballer on the planet today—perhaps ever—Messi will look to lead Barcelona to glory both nationally and in Europe, where they were somewhat humbled by Bayern's seven goal destruction in last season's Champions League semi-final's.
How Messi co-exists with new mega-money signing Neymar will certainly be of interest throughout the next campaign.
Nevertheless, the jewel in Barcelona's crown has another 12 months ahead where he can further re-affirm his greatness for his club and potentially lead his country to glory at the World Cup.
The mercurial French winger was nothing short of outstanding in 2012-13 as Jupp Heynckes Bayern swept all before them on their way to an unprecedented treble and new coach Pep Guardiola will be looking for more of the same in the coming 12 months.
Fleet of foot, capable of ghosting by defenders and with a staunch work ethic, Ribery exemplified everything that was good about the relentless Bayern machine last season and his consistently excellent performances have put him in contention for this year's Ballon d'Or.
With Bayern the favourites to become the first side to retain their European crown in the Champions League era, expect Ribery to once again play a key part.
Guardiola's pre-season preference has been a 4-3-3 formation without an out-and-out central striker, something which has offered Ribery greater license to come off his flank in the final third to do damage to opposing defences.
As Bavaria's most powerful look to usher in a period of dominance to rival that of the great side of the 70s, expect the Frenchman to be very much at the forefront of all things good about Die Roten in the upcoming campaign.
2012-13 promised so much heading into the final weeks of the season with Benfica challenging for three major trophies, only for Jorge Jesus' side to lose out on everything.
The new campaign will see the Aquias once again seek to play some of Europe's finest technical football and new signing Filip Duricic, having been handed the sides No. 10 shirt, is expected to play a major part.
Signed from Dutch club Heerenveen, the Serbian international is an attacking midfielder who mixes good acceleration with wonderful close control and an eye for a killer pass. Dubbed "The Balkan Cruyff" earlier in his career, the fleet-footed 21-year-old oozes quality.
Now he must add greater consistency and a more clinical edge to his game as he makes the step up to one of Europe's biggest clubs. If he can do just that, then Filip Duricic may just be able to help turn Benfica from 2013's nearly men into Portuguese champions in 2014.
Mario Gotze may have gone, but 24-year-old Marco Reus remains at the Westfalenstadion. Dynamic, skillful, uber-talented and fierce, Reus is the perfect symbol of Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund.
The attacking midfielder enjoyed a tremendous debut campaign following his return from Borussia Monchengladbach last summer, netting 19 goals in all competitions from his nominal position on the left flank.
And now, as Dortmund look to make their mark on European football once more, with aspirations of producing similar breathtaking moments to those which they created on their way to last season's European Cup final, Reus will no doubt continue to play a major part in BVB's future.
His ability to transition from defence to attack at great pace and to make telling contributions in the final third will once again be key to Kloppo's machine, and how he dovetails with new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan will go a long way to deciding Dortmund's fate in 2013-14.
The Spanish playmaker was the Blues shining star once again last season, picking up 20 goals, 35 assists and the club's Player of the Year crowns for the second successive campaign.
Containing tremendous vision and technical ability, Chelsea's No. 10 remains an integral part of the Blues future and Jose Mourinho will be looking for Mata to lead his sides attack this coming season from his central position between the lines.
With Messrs Hazard, Oscar, De Bruyne and Schurrle also in attendance, the Europa League winners aren't short of attacking flair and Mourinho will be looking to harness his side's talent as they look to take the Premier League crown away from Manchester.
If Chelsea are to prove successful in doing just that, then expect their Spanish international, a serial winner when it comes to footballs major honours, to make a number of decisive contributions.
Champions of Turkey and Champions League quarter-finalists last season, the goal for Fatih Terim's Galatasaray is more of the same in the new campaign. However, for Wesley Sneijder, a January arrival from Inter Milan, the new season is all about improvement after a transitional five months in Istanbul.
Aside from a championship success, a mere four goals and one assist is all the 29-year-old has to show for his first 16 matches with the Turkish club, after Terim shoehorned him into his starting line-up.
And having over the past 24 months looked a shadow of the player who lit up the 2010 Champions League and World Cup with displays full of craft and guile, Sneijder has a massive season ahead.
Displays of creativity, class and personality are needed from the Dutchman in the Turkish capital if he is to prevent himself becoming one of the forgotten men of European football.
And if Sneijder, in association with Messrs Drogba and Yilmaz can indeed do just that, then Gala may get more than merely just more of the same in 2013-14: they may just get improvement both at home and on the continent.
Much like his side in the past two seasons under Antonio Conte, Andrea Pirlo has emerged from a dark final season with AC Milan to become the pre-eminent midfielder in Serie A once again to universal acclaim.
Like a fine wine, the 34-year-old Lombardy native seemingly gets better with age. His sculpting from a deep-lying playmaker role remains amongst the finest in world football and he remains absolutely vital to the Bianconeri.
Convincing winners in the Italian championship last season, Juve fell short in the Champions League. They lost to eventual winners Bayern at the quarter-final stage, having suffered from an inability to make any impression on the Bavarians' goal.
Conte has sought to rectify that this summer with the signings of Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez and big things are expected of the duo.
But the man who will dictate what Juventus achieve in 2013-14 remains the man who has dictated so much for the club since his arrival in the summer of 2011: Andrea Pirlo.
The Dutch striker was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson to make the difference in last season's title race and he did just that as his 26 league goals led United to the championship in Ferguson's final season at the helm.
Now under David Moyes, the 29-year-old will lead from the front once again, as United's new manager looks to keep the club at the top of the English game, whilst simultaneously looking to make a run at Europe's premier club prize.
The classy Dutchman, with his intelligent movement and clinical finishing ability, will undoubtedly play a key part once more.
With Wayne Rooney's future uncertain and Danny Welbeck's troubles in front of goal over the past 12 months, it is vital that the former Arsenal star stays fit and healthy in 2013-14.
Goals and performances of consistent high quality are a must from RVP, if United are to succeed in these times of change.
Since arriving in Manchester two summers ago from Atletico Madrid, Sergio Aguero has seen his own personal fortunes somewhat mirrored in those of his club.
Aguero had an outstanding debut season in English football in 2011-12 where he helped himself to 30 goals in all competitions and led City to the Premier League title.
However, the Argentine striker failed to hit similar heights during an injury-disrupted 2012-13 campaign, although he still did help himself to 12 league goals.
Under Manuel Pellegrini, Aguero will look to re-affirm his status as City's most gifted forward, and the quicksilver striker will be looking to fire the club to success once again.
Quick, clinical and deceptively strong, Aguero's sharpness in and around the penalty area will be key to City's hopes of claiming titles this season. It'll be interesting to see how he is used in tandem with new signings Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo.
Amongst all the comings and goings in Naples this summer, one constant has remained somewhat under the radar: Marek Hamsik.
An integral part of Napoli's success under Walter Mazzarri, the Slovakian midfielder, tactically intelligent and versatile, will look to lead the club in a similar manner under new manager Rafa Benitez.
A veteran of some 262 games for the Partenopei, which have encompassed a not-inconsiderable 70 goals, Hamsik has long been a fan favourite at the San Paolo.
With a new-look forward line encompassing new signings such as Gonzalo Higuain, Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon forthcoming, expect Hamsik to be the one constant who continues to make the Neopolitan attack tick.
Now 31, the truth about Zlatan only served to become increasingly more obvious during his debut season in Ligue 1 with PSG: He simply scores goals and wins things.
35 goals in 46 games (all competitions) for Le Parisiens in 2012-13 saw Ibrahimovic using all his technical and physical gifts with great aplomb as he led the line for PSG playing as an out-and-out No.9 under Carlo Ancelotti.
Heading into the new season however, change is very much afoot at the Parc des Princes, with Laurent Blanc in the hotseat and Edinson Cavani having joined from Napoli.
As such, the Swede could be about to see his role change from that of chief goal scorer to chief goal creator.
How Ibrahimovic takes to his new role, and how he gets on with new mega-money signing Cavani, will play a key part in PSG's hopes, both at national and continental level over the next 12 months.
No one in world football does the "moneyball" approach quite like FC Porto and the Dragoes may have pulled another rabbit out the proverbial hat this summer with their signing of Colombian international starlet Juan Fernando Quintero.
After a breakout European campaign with Italian club Pescara last season, Quintero has moved to Portugal for the forthcoming season, on the back of an outstanding individual showing at the Under-20 World Cup.
Technically outstanding, blessed with wonderful vision and fiercely strong for one so diminutive, Quintero has all the makings of a truly top-class No.10.
From the driving runs to the clever one-twos and the cross-field passes, the Colombian is a wonderful talent (the only criticism would be that he needs to add more goals from open play to his game).
He arrives in Porto as the replacement for another Colombian playmaker, James Rodriguez. If he can have a standout season with the Portuguese champions, Quintero may just be able to supplant his predecessor with the national team next summer.
The Portuguese forward once again shone brightest amongst Real Madrid's stars in 2012-13, scoring 55 goals in 55 games for Los Blancos.
Now 28, Ronaldo is one of the undoubted greats of world football and his scoring achievements at the Santiago Bernabeu will put him down as one of the greatest players in the history of the nine-time European champions.
However, with La Decima continuing to prove elusive and no major title forthcoming for the Spanish club last season, Ronaldo must now lead Real to better under new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
With his physical and technical gifts to the fore, Madrid can expect to be there or thereabouts when the trophies are handed out at the culmination of 2013-14.
If the Madridistas are to get their hands on one, expect Ronaldo to be the man who makes the difference.