The best of the Premier League versus the best of La Liga versus the best of Serie A versus the best of the Bundesliga. Who would win?
It’s a classic debate, and Sportsmail will attempt to provide an answer. Our reporters, based in turn in England, Italy, Germany and Spain, are picking a dream team to represent that country’s league.
Then, finally, we’ll send them all into battle in a round-robin tournament, with the top two progressing to a final that will decide which league really does boast the best players of all.
Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
It’s a close call between Ter Stegen and Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak. The former edges it because he can do everything Oblak can do, and he can also sweeper-keep if necessary.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen edges ahead of Jan Oblak because of his ability with his feet
Right back: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid’s Spain international is decisive in both boxes, a good crosser of the ball and quick and aggressive defensively. He’ll be under pressure this season from Alvaro Odriozola, he gets in ahead of the youngster and Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto.
Dani Carvajal is a perfect modern right back, good in both attacking and defensive positions
Right centre back: Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
The best central defender in Spain. Fewer errors than his Spain partner Ramos and in terms of playing out from the back – worthy of his old Piquenbauer nickname.
Gerard Pique gets the nod ahead of Sergio Ramos due to making fewer errors when passing
Left centre back: Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
One of the toughest calls is to pick Pique’s partner. Ramos does the job so well for Spain and Samuel Umtiti has been good for Barcelona. But Godin – three teeth lighter after his battles last season – gets the nod. Right-footed but can play on the left of the pair. A defenders’ defender.
Diego Godin is a true defenders’ defender and gets the nod for the other centre-back berth
Left back: Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Tempting to go Atletico Madrid again with Filipe Luis. Or to go with Jordi Alba. But how can Marcelo be ignored? ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ as one Spanish commentator calls him. There will always be some defensive lapses but a real big-game performer.
Marcelo is a true big game performer and is impossible to ignore for the left-back role
Right central midfield: Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona)
Probably Barcelona’s most under-rated player. Can play in front of the defence or behind the forwards. Scores goals and makes so few mistakes that some games he goes unnoticed. Gets in ahead Atletico pair Saul and Koke.
Ivan Rakitic was brilliant against Tottenham and is one of Barcelona’s most under-rated players
Deep central midfield: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
The second easiest pick of the whole team. Seems to win possession almost without making tackles. Never flustered and wears opponents down with passes. Can also play the killer final pass when necessary.
Sergio Busquets will play in a deeper central midfield role — he was another easy pick
Left central midfield: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Was the best midfielder at the World Cup and rightfully voted as The Best at FIFA’s annual award ceremony after a glittering season in which he won the Champions League.
Luka Modric is an unsurprising selection after winning FIFA’s The Best award this year
Right forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Starting on the right but playing wherever he wants to. Still the most important player in any best XI. The best in La Liga and now with the challenge of proving he is the best in the Champions League again after three seasons of not reaching the final.
Lionel Messi will start on the right and then drift into whatever position he wants to take up
Centre forward: Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Tempting to make room for Antoine Griezmann here but it’s Suarez’s connection with Messi that would make it daft to leave him out.
Luis Suarez and his connection with Messi means he gets the nod as the central forward
Right winger: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Very hard to pick between Bale and Griezmann. Bale scores incredible goals in big games. Griezmann is now a World Cup winner and a Ballon d’Or candidate. If you can guarantee me his full 100 per cent fitness I’m going with Bale, just.
If Gareth Bale can stay fit then he deserves a place on the wing in the La Liga dream team
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) Unlucky not to get a place in the first-team after another brilliant year for Atletico.
Jordi Alba (Barcelona) Another player with a psychic connection with Messi, but just behind Marcelo in the pecking order.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) Has started the season well but Real’s struggles are reflected in his place on the bench.
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) German midfielder has been a key figure for Real in the last few campaigns.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) Among best players in the world but just misses out due to strength of forward line.
Antoine Griezmann is among the best players in the world but only gets on to the bench
Visit www.dailymail.co.uk/sport on Tuesday to find out our dream team from Germany – and on Wednesday find out who wins the big tournament.