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Ranking the 5 best football academies in the world

Daksh Shukla
Modified 17 Feb 2020, 02:18 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

2. Ajax

Dennis Bergkamp, an Ajax graduate
Dennis Bergkamp, an Ajax graduate

One of the first names that come to mind when we talk about youth academies. The Dutch outfit have received tremendous praise for their youth academy and with good judgment. Ajax relies heavily on their youth and have been doing that for more than three decades. The Eredivisie side have continued to produce top-class talents. In scouting, the clubs reach is not confined by geographical limits and they extend to every part of the world.

Home to some of the best prospects in European football, Ajax football academy has trained many notable stars who have progressed to have successful football careers. Despite losing a majority of their talent Ajax continues to dominate the Eredivisie with their young guns. Players such as Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart and Nigel de Jong were all sold, but remain symbols of what the academy can produce. Recent players who have graduated from its academy include Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Justin Kluivert and Christian Eriksen.

Notable Alumni: Dennis Bergkamp, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Rafael Van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen

1. Barcelona

FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona

Don't think we need much explanation here. Undoubtedly the best football academy in the world, La Masia has produced several talents that have progressed to become the face of football in Spain and Europe. The credit for establishing La Masia goes to former Barcelona coach Johan Cruyff who wanted to build an Ajax-like academy in Spain

The academy was a great success and produced notable players such as Pep Guardiola, Carles Busquets, Guillermo Amor, Ivan De La Pena and Luis Milla. La Masia continued to produce world-class players and in the recent seasons, most of Barcelona’s first team is comprised of homegrown talent. It was in November 2012, Barcelona achieved the remarkable feat of having 11 products of their academy on the field at the same time for a La Liga clash.


In 2011, three La Masia graduates were nominated in the final three for the Ballon d’Or, an unbelievable achievement for the academy. Its prominent graduates include Lionel Messi, who is arguably the greatest player ever to kick a football.

Notable Alumni: Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Victor Valdes, Pedro.

Also Read: Top 5 Most Underrated Players In Premier League 2019-20

Published 17 Feb 2020, 02:18 IST
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