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The best football academies in the world

By Miguel Prazeres

August 11, 2020

Many times, the path of some of the greatest players in the world of football has a common start. We talk about some of the greatest football academies on the planet. Over the years, many of these academies have stood out not only for the quality of the players they reveal but also for the number of stars they "produce".

Get to know some of the best academies in the world.

5- Sporting CP

Ricardo Quaresma and Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese academy was famous at the beginning of the millennium for revealing Cristiano Ronaldo. Before him, Sporting had "produced" another Golden Ball winner: Luís Figo. Sporting CP also discovered other stars such as Nani, Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho or Rui Patricio. A decisive contribution to the recent successes of the Portuguese national team.

4- Real Madrid

Casillas and Guti

Real Madrid's buying tendency shapes much of the club's fame worldwide. But the truth is that their academy is often overlooked, as well as the talents that are produced there. Names like Iker Casillas or Guti are some of the biggest stars who shone in the first team.

However, this is probably the reason why youth teams don't enjoy so much prestige, since the young stars have few opportunities to settle in the main squad. Instead, they are forced to leave and find other clubs.

In a study revealed by the football observatory, Real Madrid was the club with the most players formed among the top five European leagues: 41 athletes.

3- AS Monaco

Thierry Henry

Emmanuel Petit, Lilian Thuram, David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry are some of the stars revealed by Monaco. Their excellence in developing young talents it's a certainty. Some of the greatest players of the French national team in recent years are Made in Monaco. Kylian Mbappe is also a product of Monaco´s academy.

2- Ajax

Johan Cruijff

Ajax youth academies are a real talent factory. In fact, some of the most talented players of recent years have their label: Van der Sar, Frank de Boer, Ruud Krol, Rijkaard, Seedorf, Johan Cruijff, Dennis Bergkamp and Marco Van Basten are some of the prominent names in a list that would itself fill an entire page.

In addition to training players, Ajax is also known for successfully taking advantage of its talents in the main team, and use them to fight for the main European titles.

1- Barcelona

Iniesta, Messi and Xavi

A unanimous selection. The Blaugrana not only develop the best players in the world but also prepare them to win at the highest level with a unique style of play.

Making a list of the great players from La Masia is a difficult exercise because it's easy to miss some big names. Still, here are some of the stars who took their first steps at FC Barcelona academies: Lionel Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Puyol, Busquets, Pique, Victor Valdes or Guardiola.

Barcelona are the only academy in the world that placed three of its players in the top three in a single edition of the FIFA Golden Ball: Messi, Xavi and Iniesta.

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