5 best players to have graduated from Valencia's academy
Spanish club Valencia have gone on to nurture and produce some of the finest talents in their famed academy. The club boasts several players who have gone on to play for top European clubs and the Spanish national team.
Although Los Che have found it cumbersome to retain the best players from their academy, some of them still went on to play for the Spanish club, donning the white and black jersey at the Mestalla. Here we take a look at the best players to have come through from Valencia's famous academy.
1. David Silva
Manchester City and Spain playmaker David Silva is perhaps the most decorated player to have graduated from Valencia's academy. The Spanish maestro has gone on to rack up 297 appearances for Manchester City, after appearing 119 times for Valencia. For the Spain national team, the Spaniard has won the UEFA Euro Championship in 2008 and 2012 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
At club level, Silva has gone on to win 4 Premier League titles and 2 FA Cups for Manchester City and 1 Copa Del Rey with his boyhood club Valencia. Silva's passing range, ability to play in between the lines and inventive attacking play has won him several plaudits across Europe and he has gone on to replicate the same consistency for the Spanish national team scoring 37 goals in 125 appearances for La Roja.
Real Madrid midfielder Isco is another highly decorated and exciting player to come from Valencia's academy. Isco's dribbling, passing range and goal-scoring ability has seen him put in stellar performances for Real Madrid and the Spanish national team during his career. Isco played for the Valencia academy and reserve team before a move to Malaga where he notched up 14 goals in 69 appearances, earning him the European Golden Boy award in 2012 and a subsequent €30 million move to Real Madrid in 2013.
Isco won the UEFA Champions League 4 times with Real Madrid along with 1 Copa Del Rey in 2013-14 and 1 La Liga title in 2016-17. The Spaniard's Real Madrid statistics include 35 goals in 195 appearances for Los Blancos and he averages 2 dribbles and 1.5 key passes per game. He has 12 goals in 38 appearances for Spain and continues to play for La Roja at the age of 27.
3. Raul Albiol
Another player who has played at the top level of European football for a considerable amount of time is Valencia youth product Raul Albiol. The central defender has represented Valencia 131 times scoring 5 goals before a move to Real Madrid where he played 81 times scoring 1 goal. Following his stint with Real, Albiol made a move to Serie A side Napoli where he racked up 180 appearances scoring 6 goals. He currently plays for La Liga side Villareal at the senior age of 34.
The defensive stalwart has won 1 Copa Del Rey and 1 UEFA Europa League with Valencia, 1 La Liga and Copa Del Rey with Real Madrid and 1 Coppa Italia and 1 Supercoppa Italiana with Napoli. Albiol has also represented the Spanish national team 56 times and won the UEFA Euro Championship in 2008 and 2012 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup with the national side.
4. Jose Gaya
Valencia left-back Jose Gaya is a Mestalla youth product who has gone on to represent the club after a spell with the youth team. The 24-year-old wing-back represented Valencia B for 65 games scoring 3 goals before he went on to represent the Valencia senior team 165 times netting 3 goals and notching up 15 assists.
The left-back has also represented the Spanish national team 7 times scoring 1 goal. Gaya continues to play for Valencia and has career averages of 2.5 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 2.1 clearances per game and is a solid reliable defender for Los Che. He also won the Copa Del Rey with Valencia in the 2018-19 season.
5. Paco Alacacer
Borussia Dortmund striker Paco Alcacer is another Valencia youth product from their famed academy. The striker represented the Valencia senior team for 93 appearances scoring 30 goals in the process. He was then loaned to Getafe where he made 20 appearances scoring only 3 goals but he later earned a move to Barcelona as Luis Suarez's understudy. Alcacer played 37 times for Barcelona scoring 10 goals winning the La Liga title in 2017-18 and 2 Copa Del Rey titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
The Spaniard then made a move to German side Borussia Dortmund in search of first-team football, first on loan where he netted 12 goals in 14 appearances and now on a permanent deal. This season, Alcacer has scored 11 goals in 23 appearances for Dortmund and continues to impress for the Bundesliga side. He has also represented the Spanish national team 19 times scoring 12 goals in the process.