Football is a sport that attracts the interest of men and women. Famous footballers are role models for many men. Let’s see the top 10 football academies where some of the well-known football players started their careers.
- Real Madrid Academy: It is widely known as “La Fabrica”. It was founded in 1942 and since then a lot of graduates became capable players contributing to Real Madrid’s success. Some of them are Iker Casillas, Pedro Casado, Enrique Mateos, Gregorio Benito, Juan Santisteban, Manuel Velázquez, Ramón Grosso, Fernando Serena, Ramón Marsal, Emilio Butragueño, Chendo, Manolo Sanchís, Ricardo Gallego, Míchel, Sebastián Losada, Miguel Pardeza and Rafael Martín Vázquez.
- Barcelona Academy: Respect, effort, ambition, teamwork and humility are among the values that trainees are taught. The rising superstar Riqui Puig is one of the academy’s talents. But many other famous footballers have graduated from FC Barcelona academy. Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez, Sergio Busquets, Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol, Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique are some of them. The BARÇA Academy works via its own particular model, based on the Barça methodology and the values mentioned above.
- Ajax Youth Academy: Some famous graduates are Johan Cruijff, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Wim Kieft, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Kluivert. Ajax has developed the so-called TIPS model, which stands for Technique, Insight, Personality and Speed. Each player owns a special Ajax passport, in which all achievements are noted. Ajax Youth Academy was founded in 1900.
- FC Bayern Munich Junior Team: It was created in 1902 and restructured in 1995. Bayern Munich Academy tests young players before accepting them and allows them to study free until their graduation if they are talented. It is worth mentioning some graduates of the academy like Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, and David Alaba. Bayern Munich Academy aims to have the best youth development in club football.
- Manchester United FC Reserves and Academy: Ryan Giggs, Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and David Bechham are some of the academy graduates. The Manchester United Youth team has nine players in the English football Hall of Fame (Duncan Edwards, Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Nobby Stiles, Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Johnny Giles). Neil Wood holds the position of manager, while Joel and Avram Glazer are co- chairmen.
- Sporting CP Youth Academy: Famous footballers trained in the academy are Cristiano Ronaldo and Luís Figo. Trainees have the advantage to train with Sporting teams and take part to socializing sessions with professional Sporting players. The facilities are excellent so clubs all over Europe choose the academy to train in the season break.
- Santos FC Reserves and Academy: Pele began his career from Santos FC Reserves and Academy. The academy is responsible for over 100 young athletes in 5 different categories. Its main goal is to find talented young players with a future potential to play for Santos’s first team. Santos FC Reserves and Academy was founded in 1912.
- GNK Dinamo Zagreb Academy: The academy was founded in 1967. Many of the Croatia national team stars including Luka Modrić, Vedran Ćorluka, Eduardo, Robert Prosinečki and Zvonimir Boban come from the academy. The chairman of the academy is Mirko Barišić. The club managed to gain 50 million euros from its academy through training young players.
- Schalke 04 (Knappenschmiede): Each player is treated differently depending on age and performance. Many players coming from the youth academy have a brilliant course. Benedikt Höwedes, Julian Draxler, Manuel Neuer and Mesut Özil, four products of the Knappenschmiede became 2014 World Cup winners with the Germany national team in Brazil. Also, Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Höwedes, Joel Matip and Julian Draxler were on the pitch during the Royal Blues’ 5-0 win against MSV Duisburg in the final of the 2010/11 DFB Cup.
- São Paulo FC Youth Academy: There are various squads divided by age groups. All the youth teams currently train at the club’s main training ground, CFA Cotia. Ricardo Kaka, Casemiro, Oscar, Lukas Moura, Eder Militao, David Luiz, Ederson, Éder Militão, and David Neres come from the academy.
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