REAL MADRID

Real Madrid rated to have best academy in Europe's big five

The Castilla youth system in the Spanish capital, known as 'La Fábrica' or The Factory, continues to produce a good number of players in the Big Five leagues.

Real Madrid, with their Castilla academy, are the club in the Big Five European domestic leagues to have produced the most players into those competitions, ahead of Spain’s other footballing giant, FC Barcelona, by nine places. This comes out of the latest study by the CIES football observatory, which looked at what it called 'stepping-stone' clubs.

Madrid’s kids are alright

Castilla, affectionately known as ‘La Fabrica’ (The Factory), has 17 players now playing in the top five major leagues of the continent, more than any other of the clubs in either LaLiga, the Premier League, Serie A, the Bundesliga, or Ligue 1. Looking further afield, there are only three clubs that have more of their youngsters in the major competitions than Los Blancos. Ajax (22), Benfica (21) and Red Bull Salzburg (20) have produced and then let go their young talents who are now playing in either Spain, England, Italy, Germany or France.

Another Spanish giant, FC Barcelona, come next in the list in terms of clubs actually in the top five. Barcelona’s famed academy ’La Masia’ has 11 players at the top table of European football and that sits them in thirteenth position. Interestingly, the first non-European team is Boca Juniors, in 15th.

Spain’s best academies

After Real Madrid (17) and Barcelona (11), the surprising name in Spanish top flight production is Almería, with six players. They are followed by the island side Tenerife with four.

England's best academies

Italy's best academies

Germany's best academies

France's best academies

One of the underlying trends that has been seen from the study is that if you are a young player looking to join an academy then you may be better checking out leagues away from the Big Five. Whether that is a top-flight side in another country, or a lower division side in the more prominent ones.