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Football development depends on the commitment of clubs especially when it comes to the youth system. No club can entirely and solely depend on buying players year in year out to keep challenging for titles. A functioning youth system must be able to produce a good percentage of players going on to play for the club in the first team.
Today, we, therefore, take a closer look at 10 of the very best clubs when it comes to producing stars;
7. Dinamo Zagreb Academy- Croatia
When you want to analyze Croatian football, you must mention Dinamo Zagreb Academy somewhere in your piece because the low-budget academy has been churning out stars for years. The products include Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric former Spurs midfielder Niko Kranjcar and current Liverpool center-back Dejan Lovren.
6. Santos FC Academy- Brazil
Football legend Pele came through Santos academy and went on to play for them for many years in a number of spells. They have continued to produce stars over the years including PSG striker Neymar, Diego, Robinho, Ganso, and Elano. A total of 270 youth players can be hosted at ago in the academy.
5. Academia Sporting- Portugal
Sporting Lisbon academy called Academia Sporting can be proud of producing the World best footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. He has won four Ballon d’Or awards and many expect him to win it for the fourth time in 2017. Manchester United has taken a lot of praise for giving the Portuguese a bigger platform to grow but the Lisbon academy gave him his first chance. Others stars from the academy include Luis Nani who also played at Old Trafford, Jose Fonte of and the legend himself Luis Figo.
4. Manchester United- England
Manchester United academy is one of the very best in the World. We all look at the class of 92 stars with pride and admiration no matter which team you support. The kind of achievement Sir Alex Ferguson achieved with Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Phil and Gary Neville and Nicky Butt is phenomenal.
Today, they continue producing great stars. Take a look at the league and you will certainly see a player from the Red Devils academy. Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater, Everton defender Michael Keane, Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck and Bournemouth forward King among others. The current first team has Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, and Mc Tominay. Timothy Fosu-Mensah joined Crystal Palace on a season-long loan. They are great at producing stars.
3. Bayern Munich Academy
German football can never really do without the strength of the mighty Bayern Munich. The Club is the most successful both inside and outside the Bundesliga. This can only be possible when there is a great and functional youth system that continues to nourish the first team.
The academy has produced some of the biggest names in German football over the years and it continues to do so. Legends like Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier came through their system and today we can talk of 2014 World Cup winners Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller.
2. AFC Ajax Youth Academy- Netherland
Netherland most successful Club Ajax Amsterdam has one of the best and academies in the World. The best product of this academy is none other than Johan Cruyff. He later transferred the Dutch style to Barcelona through La Masia academy. The Dutch team youth system has produced many stars that continue to conquer the World today. Their system follows the TIPS’ style which translates to Technique, Insight, Personality, and Speed.
1. La Masia- Barcelona (Spain)
Barcelona academy La Masia trains total football or what is also called ‘Tiki Taka’. It simply asks for 110% performance. You pass the ball and move. Today, we can name all day the number of stars they have produced in recent years. But one man we can’t ignore is five times Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi. He has helped the Catalonian side win all trophies they might have failed to win in thirty or forty years before he arrived.
Other La Masia products include Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Hector Bellerin, Sergio Busquets, Borjan Kirkic, Gerrard Pique and Victor Valdes among others.