Here’s giving it up for those who burn the midnight oil out on the turf and do nothing different even in broad day light only to produce and present to us the best footballing wizards we will ever see.
Lining up the top 10 football youth academies of the world:
The youth academy of the Portuguese capital! Was bound to make it to the list wast it? Or was it? All it’s given us is a Ronaldo, who may be the best in the world but that’s about it, no? Think again. There’s more to the list!
Notable graduates: Luis Figo, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo ,Ricardo Quaresma, João Moutinho
2. Ajax – ‘De Toekomst — The Future’: Here’s a team whose exploits you’ll hear about twice a year, one in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA tournaments and the 2ndin their youth academy!
Key feature: They are mythically hailed for their really fluid motion across the pitch with quick passing and an even quicker offensive stance.
Notable graduates: Frank De Boer, Dennis Bergkamp, Marco Van Basten, Toby Alderweireld, Daily Blind, Wesley Sneijder, Christian Eriksen.
3.Southampton – ‘Saints Academy’:
The philosophy of this training academy is simple. 50% of the clubs talent should be the graduates of the youth academy. As against Real Madrid C.F.’s philosophy of buying players.
4.La Fabrica, Real Madrid:
La Fabrica translates to ‘The factory’. Not only has this factory, whose training ground lies just outside Madrid, been responsible for the players below but also for the creation of Real Madrid Castilla, the most successful reserve side in the history of Spanish football.
Notable graduates: Iker Cassila, Guti, Raul, Juan Mata, Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Morata.
5. La Masia, FC Barcelona
Messi came from here. Must we say more?
In 2010 La Masia became the first academy to have trained 3 shortlisted candidates for the Ballon D’or. 3 is a BIG number for such a big award!
It also has been extolled for training players who made it to the World Cup 2010.
Notable graduates: Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets
The Manchester United F.C. Reserves and Academy is a byproduct of MUJAC – Manchester United Junior Athletic Club which gave the world the following players.
Notable graduates: Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Neville brothers, Gerard Pique, Paul Pogba.
7.Santos FC Reserves and Academy: The starting point of this academy is boys just over 6 years of age and the academy is responsible for nurturing 100 talents from the U-11, U-13, U-15, U-17, U-20 categories.
Notable graduates: Marcelo, Neymar, Robinho.
8.Schalke- Knappenschmiede: We’ve all heard of German engineering precision haven’t we? Well this is nothing different! There was a time when 8 of the youth academy grads were in the starting XI in the 2013-14 Champions league last -16 tie against Real Madrid!
Notable graduates: Julian Draxler, Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neur, Leroy Sane, Benedikt Höwedes
9. Milan Primavera: The youth sector of AC Milan with notable graduates like Paolo Maldini, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Matteo Darmian
10.Bayern Munich- ‘Säbener Strasse’ youth academy:
With accommodation, canteens, guest rooms for young trialists, a kitchen and a game room, Munich’s premier training academy has it all! Define ‘all’? Take a look at the list below.
Notable graduates: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philip Lahm, Thomas Muller, David Alaba, Toni Kroos.