The Italian club has been through a rough patch in the last few years, but they continue to be one of the finest youth academies. In terms of creating stars, they have an edge over the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan or AS Roma. Legends such as Filippo Inzaghi, Paolo Maldini have been the product of the Italian giants. The likes of Stephan El Shaarawy or Andrea Poli are the future of AC Milan, even though they have a long way from becoming like their predecessors.
While Los Murcielagos(The Bats) find it hard to keep up with the Joneses, they have still one of the most productive youth academies in Spain. Valencia failed to qualify for this year Champions League; they currently sit in the 4th place in the La Liga and have a good chance to make it in the prestigious tournament next season. Valencia has produced the lies of David Villa, Juan Mata, Roberto Soldado, and David Silva, selling them for £109.5 million.
Whenever you hear about young Brazilian players who take the world by storm, Campenato Brasilero, the Brazilin league takes all the credit. While Sao Paulo has produced the lies of Ricardo Kaka, Lucas Moura or Oscar, Santos is credited with developing some of the best players in the game, Pele most notably. Robinho has been another product of Santos. Least but not least, Neymar has been born and bred at Santos.
Fc Porto is arguably Portugal’s most successful club, and their success can be attributed to a host of factors. Perhaps the most important reason to their dominance in the Portuguese league is their youth system. They take young promising players; develop them and later on selling them at a huge profit. Porto has developed the likes of James Rodriguez, Falcao, Joao Moutinhoand Hulk among others. They know how to do business.
Being an underdog might annoy many clubs, but Atletico Madrid seems to thrive on it. They had a brilliant last season, winning the La Liga and making it into the Champion League final, spending just £5.5 million in the prior two seasons. Diego Costa, Arda Turan, Koke, Raul Garcia, and Diego Godin were present all along. Atletico Madrid has developed some fantastic strikers, such as Sergio Aguero, Fernando Torres and Radamel Falcao.
While it is a Sisyphean task to compete with the big guns, the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, or Manchester City in terms of finances, Southampton has produced some great players in the league, selling them at huge profits. The Saints have produced Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and the legendary Alan Shearer. They sold Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, and Rickie Lambert for a total of £92 million earlier this summer.
The Gunners have usually operated on a low-budget policy, but they have signed some brilliant players over the years. Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Cesc Fabregas, Patric Vieira and Kolo Toure were part of the Invincible Team in the 2003/04 season. Granted, Arsene Wenger is not proud of signing Chamakh, Arshavin or Yaya Sanogo for that matter. However, Arsenal is credited with developing some of the finest players in the game.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the former legendary Manchester United manager is credited with detecting and later developing some of the world’s greatest players. If it were not for Sir Alex, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney wouldn’t be performing at their current levels. The Scottish manager got the best out of Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane among others. If you have a well-rounded youth academy, it surely pays off.
Ajax is perhaps the only club able to compete with the big guns of Europe, in terms of producing and developing great players. Apart from the 3 tines Ballon D’Or winner Johan Cruyff, the Amsterdam based club has produced some of the world’s finest players, such as Edwin Van Der Sar, Wesley Sneijder, Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten , Dennis Bergkamp Frank Rijkaard, Patrick Kluivert, Luiz Suarez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Catalan giants take the top spot on the list, and rightly so. When it comes to home-grown stars, Barcelona is the first club that comes to mind. Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Pedro, Gerrard Pique, Carles Puyol and Cesc Fasbgres are born and bred at Barcelona. The Argentine star Lionel Messi joined Barcelona at 11, becoming one of the world’s best players of all times. Hell, even Pep Guardiola is a product of La Masia.