New data deconstructs narratives on academy talent usage by Real Madrid, Barcelona


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Owing to the very high standards that Real Madrid demands from its players, there are not a lot of players who can make the jump from the academy to the club’s first team.

There have been some notable names that shone for Real Madrid after having developed at their academy, but the general perception about the club is that it emphasizes more on big transfers to sustain their success throughout the years, rather than relying on homegrown talent.

On the other hand, Real Madrid’s greatest rivals, FC Barcelona are believed to be much more likely to depend on their academy and youth players, a perception that has further strengthened in the last few years.

However, a report from Diario AS shows that these perceptions about the two clubs do not really reflect reality. Referring to the data compiled by CIES Football Observatory, Real Madrid has the highest number of players from its academy playing in the top five European leagues.

The Merengues have 44 such players, and thus lead other clubs like Barcelona (40), Lyon (31), and Valencia (29). Real Madrid has used La Fabrica more as a source of cash generation, and have accumulated up to €395 million through academy player sales since 2009.

In addition to this cash generation, the CIES data has also deconstructed the narrative that Barcelona rely more on their academy players than Real Madrid does. In their list of clubs who have given the most minutes to their academy talents, Real Madrid are ranked fourth, having given 36.3% of total minutes to La Fabrica-developed players.

Barcelona are ranked ninth in this list, as the Catalans gave 29.1% of minutes to those players who developed within La Masia.

The list was topped by Atheltic Club, which gave 68.9% of minutes to academy-developed players and had seven clubs from La Liga in the top ten, including Real Sociedad (3rd), Osasuna (6th), Valencia (7th), and Las Palmas (10th).

Two of these clubs hailed from France, Olympique Lyonnais (2nd) and Stade Rennais (8th), and one from Germany, Freiburg (5th).

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari, a dedicated sports journalist and Real Madrid fan, has written over 2000 articles for Barca News Network and Madrid Voice. With a degree in Political Science and English Literature from Forman Christian College, he provides expert analyses and comprehensive La Liga coverage.

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