Emilio Butragueno believes Real Madrid cannot hope to compete with Barcelona for entertainment value but reckons his former club have a more competitive spirit.
The ex-Merengue and Spain striker accepts that Bernd Schuster's side have not been lifting the crowds this season although they have continued to grind out results.
Barcelona have begun to find their form under Pep Guardiola and swept Atletico Madrid aside at the weekend to go joint-fourth with Real in the Spanish table.
"At Barça there appears to me to be a project with very good foundations," el Buitre told Marca.
"Barça are really potent going forward and they are a side that like to control the play.
"Real Madrid are a side that do not lose because of their competitiveness.
"I think that Madrid have a very strong defence with lots of experience.
"The four regular players at the back are very difficult to pass, then in front they have Mahamadou Diarra.
"That makes a very tough five-man unit and they do not have to play well to score goals, which is the sign of a champion."
Butragueno feels Real have moved on from the Galactico era of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Devid Beckham and no longer rely on individual stars.
"Perhaps they do not have Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Kaka, but they are a team in every concept of the word and have the spirit and unity that makes them able to win games even when they are not at their best," he added.
"That is why we cannot say that Barcelona are better than Madrid, although they play attractive football and have the technical players to maintain an extraordinary level."