The Premier League or La Liga - which is the best in the world?
Football fans are often divided; Spain arguably boasts the better players and Lionel Messi's mere presence alone elevates the whole division to another level.
Yet English football has always prided itself on its competitiveness.
Historically, of the 20 teams in the top flight, anyone could beat anyone and the title race often went right down to the wire.
Let's be honest; the balance has shifted this season. Liverpool are running away with the Premier League and below the top three, most teams have serious flaws.
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In terms of sheer star power, it's ultimately very hard to choose between the two leagues, but we've decided to pit the best against the best using Transfermarkt's tools for the most valuable XI in both La Liga and the Premier League.
La Liga's most valuable XI
The Premier League's most valuable XI
Alisson Becker vs.
Oblak may be worth £9 million more than Alisson on paper but we can't ignore the year the Brazilian has just had, winning three Golden Gloves for separate competitions last season on top of the Champions League and Copa America. Oblak has kept one more clean sheet for Atletico, but with Alisson the beauty lies in simplicity. He makes goalkeeping look easy as only the very best can.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Aymeric Laporte, Andy Robertson vs.
Dani Carvajal, José Giménez, Raphael Varane, Jordi Alba
We essentially have Liverpool's defence against a mix of Atletico, Real and Barca defenders. Zinedine Zidane's side have conceded just 13 goals in 21 games and Atleti's record is similar, with 14 in 21. Yet Liverpool's ratio is just 15 goals in 23 games, not least because of Virgil van Dijk, the world's best defender and Ballon d'Or runner-up. In short, both defences would be near impossible to get past.
That leaves us turning to what their respective full-backs can offer going forward and there's only one winner. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have already shared 16 assists and three league goals this season. For perspective, Carvajal and Alba have five and two between them.
Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante vs.
Frenkie de Jong, Saul Niguez
Perhaps we take Kante for granted and on his day, Pogba is a world-beater. France's World Cup winning midfield pair both turn out for Premier League clubs, not that we've seen Pogba in a Manchester United shirt regularly for quite some time. The latter can't help his injuries but he has also put in plenty of disappointing performances over the past three-and-a-half years. De Jong has fitted in seamlessly at Camp Nou and Saul Niguez has been very consistent for Atleti. If we were to take both duos at their very best, Les Bleus' talismen just edge it.
Mo Salah, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane vs.
Lionel Messi, Joao Felix, Eden Hazard, Antoine Griezmann
Joao Felix is the obvious weak link with just two league goals so far this season, but he is only 20. The youngster has been under an enormous amount of pressure since his mammoth transfer from Benfica. Speaking of huge expectations, Eden Hazard hasn't exactly hit the ground running at the Bernabéu either. But if we're to apply the same logic as in midfield, the Belgian should be taken for what he can do at his best. Form is temporary, class is permanent, after all.
Griezmann had a difficult start at Barca but a return of seven league goals is respectable. We then come to Messi. Enough said. Back in England, Salah, Sterling and Kane have all scored 11 goals this season but frankly, it's a little surprising to see that the four UK-based attackers are valued higher than Griezmann and Messi, even if the Argentine is now 32.
Who would win?
It's a matter of opinion, of course.
All four categories are exceptionally close, but the Premier League just edges it. It's telling that Liverpool are European champions given how many of the league's most valuable players play in red.
We've just speculated using the most valuable XI from each league, but given the prominence of Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid players in the respective teams, there's every chance we'll actually be seeing some of these match-ups in the Champions League very soon.
Felix vs Van Dijk is a battle that's just weeks away - and what better way that would be for the young forward to make his mark on European football than to score past the best centre-back in the world.News Now - Sport News