Perhaps the two best teams in the world meet on Saturday when Real Madrid host defending Champions League and La Liga champs Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu.

All three of the candidates for the Ballon d'Or will be on hand as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi Hernandez meet in the first leg of the most anticipated rivalry match in Spain. The match will also feature two of the three nominees for the 2011 FIFA Coach of the Year award as Pep Guardiola goes head-to-head with Jose Mourinho.

Both clubs are so well-rounded that neither has a strong upper-hand in any specific category. So which club has the edge in El Clasico?

Let's break down Saturday's match from every aspect:

MANAGER: Both managers are deserving of the respect and accolades that they've been afforded. Guardiola is very smart, and often makes the right substitutions at the right time. However, Mourinho has more of a competitive spirit, and seems to get more out of his players.

Edge: Slightly for Real Madrid

GOALKEEPER: Victor Valdes is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He has great instincts, and is good with his feet. Iker Casillas, however, is perhaps the best goalkeeper of his generation. He almost never makes a mistake, and is the rock for Real Madrid.

Edge: Real Madrid

DEFENSE: This is the one part of Barcelona's game that has been an enigma. The Barcelona defense will have Carles Puyol back, but he has been burdened with injuries. Brazilian full back, Adriano, was recently sidelined due to injury, but has resumed training. Eric Abidal has given uneven performances this season for the Catalans, but Guardiola has had some success dropping back Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano, while Dani Alves, Gerard Pique and Maxwell remain strong defenders. Real Madrid will continue to be without the services of Ricardo Carvalho, who suffered a knee injury in training. Pepe and Marcelo have matured into excellent defenders, and captain Sergio Ramos is one of the best backs in the world. Fabio Coentrao is very under-rated, and Alvaro Arbeloa will be back after missing the match against Valencia.

Edge: Slightly for Real Madrid

MIDFIELDERS: Andres Iniesta and Xavi are Barcelona's glue, and perhaps the best midfield duo in the world. They are precise passers, have established great chemistry on the squad, and are outstanding at setting up goals. Seydou Keita is a strong veteran presence who rarely makes mistakes. Real Madrid have one of the best young playmakers in the game in Mesut Ozil, and he is joined by the deft passing of Xabi Alonso. Los Galacticos also have a great wing in Angel Di Maria, who is a legitimate threat to score, despite his reputation for executing quality crosses. Sami Khedira is excellent in the air, while Lassana Diarra is an imposing presence on defense.

Edge: Slightly for Barcelona

FORWARDS: Messi or Ronaldo is almost like today's version of Magic or Bird. Their styles are different but their results are similar: both score in bunches. While both are certainly among the best players in the world, their partners up front aren't too shabby. David Villa and Pedro offer excellent compliments to Messi, while Ronaldo has stars in Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain to help him out.

Edge: Slightly for Barcelona

BENCH: More than likely, Barcelona will sit midfielder Thiago Alcantara and Puyol, while impressive newcomer Alexis Sanchez might be called up on to bolster the attack. But star playmaker Cesc Fabregas will be the first to come off the bench. Real Madrid has a star midfielder in Kaka, who seems to be a waste outside of the starting 11. Expect defender Raul Albiol to be Mourinho's first reserve if Real Madrid has an early lead, or Benzema if Los Galacticos need a score.

Edge: Barcelona

STYLE: Barcelona play with so much cohesion that they often send their opponents into fits of frustration. The Catalans will likely dominate ball possession, and should find a way to score a well-executed goal. Real Madrid, on the other hand, don't mind playing ugly, and that might be the best way to beat Barcelona. Los Galacticos have a way of taking control of the game by the way they keep the ball in the opponents' half.

Edge: Barcelona

INTANGIBLES: Barcelona have not performed at the same level of last season. Real Madrid haven't looked this good since Zinedine Zidane was the creating passing angles out of nowhere. The match is played in Madrid, which should be a big advantage.

Edge: Real Madrid

EARLY PREDICTION: Real Madrid pull off the 2-1 victory, thanks to some solid play along the wings, and by containing Messi.