Sid Lowe, a correspondent for World Football Magazine, Sports Illustrated and The Guardian residing in Madrid since 2001 has recently compiled his "Teams of the Decade" for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. A respected voice - both in football commentary and in Spanish life in general - Lowe's teams and reasoning can be found here (Barcelona) and here (Real Madrid).
The teams are also listed here -
Barcelona: Victor Valdes, Juliano Belletti, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Deco, Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o, Lionel Messi.
Real Madrid: Iker Casillas, Michel Salgado, Fernando Hierro, Ivan Helguera, Roberto Carlos, Steve McManaman, Claude Makelele, Zinedine Zidane, Raul, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo (the Brazilian).
Whatever your preference - for name, styles or culture, there can be little doubt that any other "teams of the decade" would struggle to compete against the might of the two Spanish powerhouses. Cases can probably be made for the usual suspects Chelsea, Manchester United and the Milan powerhouses but even so any suggestion that they'd be able to better the Iberian powerhouses would be speculation at it's most optimistic.
So who do you think would win? Given Barca's propensity for home-grown talent it's likely that Los Blancos squad would have cost several times that of the Catalans. For mine, as impressive as the names are for Los Merengues, I can't look past Barcelona simply because the manner in which they've played for three seasons now is probably as high-quality as we've ever seen. With Real there remains the everpresent question: who's the main man? Would one football be enough?
We'd be curious to see who you think would triumph if both sides were to play a two-legged tie, home-and-away.