Real Madrid's academy is Europe's biggest exporter

In 2019, 39 players are playing in the top five leagues from Real Madrid's academy with Barcelona and Lyon sitting in second and third on the list.

Real Madrid's academy is Europe's biggest exporter
Diseño: Eduardo Cornago

Real Madrid's academy is Europe's biggest exporter of talent according to CIES. 39 players from 'La Fabrica' are currently plying their trade in the big five leagues (Premier League, Serie A, Bundeliga, Ligue 1) and that is the most from any club with Barcelona in second and Lyon in third. To have made the list, the player has to have played for at least three years for the team in question between the ages 15 and 21. Barcelona have 34 and Lyon have 30.

Some of the names on the list include: José Callejón at Napoli; Dani Parejo, captain of Valencia; Álvaro Morata, Atlético Madrid's striker; Pablo Sarabia, recent PSG signing; alongisde these more prominent names are emerging talent like Sergio Reguilon and Achraf Hakimi at Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund respectively. 

Another point worth nothing is that Raphael Varane, for example, arrived in Madrid at 18 and is considered a player from the academy and while he is not considered a product of Madrid's youth system, he is on the list. Another player who is in the same situation but is not counted is Marcelo, who arrived at 18, but during the winter transfer market and only finished two and a half seasons with the club before he turned 21.

Number of players from club's academy playing at another big-5 European club

Pos. Team
1 R. Madrid 39
2 Barça 34
3 Lyon 30
4 Man. United 28
5 Valencia 24
6 Chelsea 23
7 PSG 23
8 Athletic 23
9 Monaco 22
10 R. Sociedad 22

Source: CIES Football Observatory

On the other side of that is how few players from the academy are actually playing with Real Madrid. Zidane's side have the fewest academy players in the team according to the same study done by CIES. According to the data, players from La Fabrica have only played 25.9% of minutes so far this season. When you consider the 100% figure from Athletic Bilbao's squad and the 84.5% of Real Valladolid's side.

They mention Varane (630 minutes in LaLiga) along with Dani Carvajal (540), Lucas Vazquez (277), and Mariano (yet to debut). If you take Varane out of the equation, which he probably should be, that number drops to 15.9%. The youth at Real Madrid's academy are not shy to pack their bags and head off to other destinations in Europe to develop their skills and carve out careers. Teams like Valencia, Atlético and Barça have similar numbers but it's Real Madrid who sit atop the rankings as they continue to produce players for Europe. And for that reason they are Europe's academy.

% de minutos jugados esta temporada por jugadores 'de la casa'

Pos. Equipo %
1 R. Madrid 25,9
2 Atlético 30,7
3 Valencia 34,3
4 Barça 37,4
5 Sevilla 38
16 R. Sociedad 74,6
17 Osasuna 76,8
18 Alavés 78,1
19 Villarreal 79,9
20 Valladolid 84,5

Fuente: CIES Football Observatory