Top 5 Atlético Madrid academy graduates
Under Diego Simeone, the ten-time La Liga Champions Atletico Madrid have been revamped, and have established themselves as one of the best clubs in world football. While they have often been overpowered by a certain Cristiano Ronaldo in Europe and elsewhere, the club has enjoyed their fair share of success in the last decade or so. Most notably their 2013/14 La Liga winning campaign. Winning a league that contains Real Madrid and Barcelona- arguably two of the best clubs in the history of the sport- is an achievement in itself.
Neither do Atlético have the popularity and resources like Real Madrid and Barcelona, nor do they have the multi-billion dollar ownership of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Despite all these limitations in an extortionate market, Atlético are still one of the leading sides in world football and can hold their head up as one of Europe's most elite club.
One of the reasons for how Atlético manages to stand out in such a competitive market is the club's "Cantera" or youth academy. In the past few years, Atlético have developed many young players into world-class talents and integrated them into their senior setup, and that has gone a long way in helping the club to maintain themselves at the top even in an excessively demanding scenario, and it has also helped the club build a profitable platform for their future.
The list below comprises of the top 5 players who have graduated from Atlético's youth setup.
Gabi is known for his hard work, combativeness, and ability to win the ball back. He is more than capable with the ball at his feet as well, the sort of player who could break play and dictate the game on his own. He even possesses the ability to provide exquisite through balls and passes from the midfield.
Gabi joined Atlético Madrid when he was a young boy and slowly made his way up into Atlético's first-team squad and made his debut against Valencia CF in 2004. Finding it difficult to get game-time at Atlético, after a loan spell at Getafe, Gabi joined Real Zaragoza in 2007 in a £9m deal.
Gabi returned to Atletico Madrid in 2011 and helped Atlético to Europa League success in 2011. He later went on to win the 2012-13 Copa del Rey with the club, their first in 17 years.
The following year in 2013-14, he helped Atlético break their long-standing jinx to win their first league title since 1996.
Gabi won many trophies with Atlético including the likes of La Liga, UEFA Europa League(two times), Copa del Rey, Supercopa de España and Uefa Super Cup.