1. James Rodríguez (Real Madrid)
Despite their willingness to spend large sums of money on expensive squads, it’s common for teams to view one player as particularly significant to taking them forward – a figurehead who embodies their fortunes for the coming season. For Real Madrid - though its squad features names like Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo - it’s James Rodríguez who looks set to take up the role of talisman, as he arrives riding on a wave of excellent form from the World Cup.
For a guide to the most important players this season at Europe’s biggest clubs, click or swipe through the images above.