In the A-League's short history, there have been a number of high profile players grace the league, usually on the down-slope of their careers. In recent times, though, those ageing superstars have become less common, save for the occasional Alessandro Del Piero, replaced by talented overseas players often in the prime of their career. There are a number of these marquee players who are being tipped to be key to their respective team's chances in the upcoming A-League season, so let's have a look at the best of this bunch.
Marcelo Carrusca (Adelaide United): Having arrived in the A-League as a relative unknown Argentinean midfielder, Carrusca has gone on to establish himself as one of the best players in Australia. During his three years at Adelaide, the playmaker has improved year-upon-year and is now widely-regarded as being the league's most reliable midfielder, making it into the A-League's Team of the Season three seasons in a row. There are many who feel Carrusca's presence makes Adelaide a very tempting punt with the likes of bet365 at 15/2 to win the title, a year after the club lost in the semi-finals to Sydney FC.
Robert Koren (Melbourne City): For a club associated with Manchester City, some Melbourne fans would have expected bigger names than the likes of Robert Koren. But after an impressive debut year in the A-League, though, the former West Brom and Hull midfielder has won over many City fans and has been tipped for a big campaign this season. After scoring a hat-trick in his A-League debut, there were some who thought Koren would be a free-scoring forward for the club. That wasn't the case, though, with John Van't Schip often using the Slovenian across the midfield, finally settling on using him in the middle of the park, where his creativity can have the most influence.
Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar): When Brisbane were dominating the A-League, much of everything good came through Thomas Broich. The German winger was instrumental in the club's two A-League Premierships, racking up over 100 appearances during his five years in Queensland and making a case for being the most influential overseas player in A-League history. Now 34, Broich might not be the same athlete he was when he first arrived in Australia from FC Nurnberg in 2010, but the midfielder has added a lot more to his game and is still one of the best in the league. While the Roar aren't expected to have much chance of competing this year, having the likes of Broich still around means you can't completely rule them out.
Possible surprise package?
Diego Castro (Perth Glory): One player preparing to make his bow in the A-League is new Perth Glory marquee Diego Castro. After a ten-year career spent mostly in Spanish football's top flight, the winger ended his time at Getafe and signed for the A-League team as an overseas as their foreign marquee player. As well as the obvious experience he will bring from playing at such a high level, Castro could be the attacking player the Glory were missing last year.