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Top 5 active Real Madrid academy graduates who flourished elsewhere

Paris Saint-Germain v Stade Rennais FC - 2019 Trophée des Champions
Paris Saint-Germain v Stade Rennais FC - 2019 Trophée des Champions
Atrayo Bhattacharya

Real Madrid's academy has produced some of the top talents in world football. From players like Emiliano Butragueno to players like Iker Casillas, the Real Madrid academy has developed some pure jewels who went on to become club legends for Los Blancos.

However, a lot of those players coming out of the fabled Real Madrid academy have failed to make it big at the Santiago Bernabeu. But now, after moving on from the Spanish capital, they have rejuvenated their careers and have won several accolades since then.

None of these players made it big at Real Madrid

We have listed some of the top talents who came out of the Real Madrid academy only to make it big after leaving the club.


#5 Pablo Sarabia

Pablo Sarabia
Pablo Sarabia

Pablo Sarabia spent his first five years at the Real Madrid academy, La Fabrica. It is there that he learnt the ropes and developed into a more refined player. After graduating from the Real Madrid academy he plied his trade for Real Madrid Castilla for a couple of seasons. But he never made it to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The versatile midfielder, who predominantly features on the right flank, can also slot in on the left or even through the middle as an attacking midfielder. In 2011, Sarabia decided to move away from Castilla as he joined Getafe searching for senior team football. The 29-year-old had a very slow start to life at Getafe as he took time to settle at La Liga level.

Sarabia had a terrific 2015-16 campaign and his creativity and craftsmanship attracted suitors. The following year, Sevilla came calling and now it was a different kind of challenge for the Spaniard. He again had a slow start to life at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but gradually he got going. Deployed in a wide creative role for his ability to create chances and pick out teammates in tight spots. After a few years of consistent performances in La Liga, PSG came calling in 2019. Sarabia plays second fiddle to players like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe but it is his versatility that makes him a very vital member of the side.

Spanish outlets El Gol Digital and Diario AS reported Real Madrid's interest in Pablo Sarabia. Apparently Carlo Ancelotti likes the player and his affordability makes the Spaniard a very interesting proposition for Los Blancos. Real Madrid were strongly linked with the player in 2019 aswell when he left Sevilla to join PSG.


#4 Dani Parejo

Villarreal CF v RC Celta - La Liga Santander
Villarreal CF v RC Celta - La Liga Santander

Dani Parejo has this legendary status at Valencia but he learned the ropes at Real Madrid's academy. After several years in the Real Madrid academy, he made it to Real Madrid Castilla. While featuring the junior team he was loaned out to Queens Park Rangers as he got to experience the Championship. Parejo was considered as one of the most technical center midfielders coming out of the Real Madrid academy. But the exceptional quality in his position at Real Madrid made it clear that the Real Madrid academy graduate had no future in the Spanish capital.

Just like Sarabia he also moved away to join Getafe and after a few seasons, he joined Valencia. It was at Mestalla that he created his folklore as a footballer. The 32-year-old is often dubbed as the most unlucky player to be born in this era as he played second fiddle to midfielders like Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso and others. Therefore Parejo has only four appearances for Spain but that has not bothered him much.

Parejo's nine-year association with Valencia CF, where he led Los Ches with passion and extreme dedication, resulted in him becoming a cult figure among the supporters. He has featured in 282 matches for Valencia and has donned the armband for at least a hundred games, proving his legendary status at the club.

Capable of playing as an attacking or defensive midfielder, Parejo provides composure with the ball and his exceptional passing ability makes him the primary creative outlet for the team he represents. Currently playing for Villareal, Parejo won the Europa League last season and has no intention of slowing down

#3 Marcos Llorente

RB Leipzig v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final
RB Leipzig v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final

Marcos Llorente's transition from a defensive midfielder in Real Madrid's academy to a potent goalscorer at Atletico has been a very fascinating one. He joined the Real Madrid academy in 2008 and in six years he started plying his trade for Castilla. He was considered as one of the upcoming stars of the fabled academy.

To add more wind to his sails, Llorente was loaned out to Deportivo Alaves and it was his debut La Liga season and he did pretty well. Following his impressive Alaves stint, he made his debut for Real Madrid. But considering the competition in midfield, he never managed to cement a place in the starting eleven. After a couple of seasons, Llorente was tired of playing second fiddle to Casemiro, so the Spain international decided to move on and joined arch-rivals Atletico Madrid.

Things changed drastically at the Wanda Metropolitano as Atleti boss Diego Simeone thought Llorente had more potential to play in a more advanced role. He trained to play as an attacking midfielder. The transformation changed his career completely. He was good as a defensive midfielder but ever since his transformation, he has become an exceptional goal threat for the Rojiblancos. Llorente guided Atletico to the La Liga title last season as he netted 12 goals and provided another 11 goals, proving his worth in a more attacking role.


#2 Alvaro Morata

Juventus v Genoa CFC - Coppa Italia
Juventus v Genoa CFC - Coppa Italia

There is no denying that Alvaro Morata is Spain's best striker at the moment but he never managed to shine at Real Madrid. Apart from his time at Chelsea, the Spanish forward has had impressive stints with clubs like Juventus and Atletico Madrid. Morata joined Real Madrid's academy back in 2008 and then after a few years made it to the Castilla squad. Hailed as the next attacking sensation for Spain, Morata struggled to cement a place at the Santiago Bernabeu as he mostly struggled to handle the pressure at such a big club.

Despite not making it to the starting eleven, Morata kept on coming up from the bench and scoring crucial goals. He won two Champions League titles with Los Blancos before joining Juventus. He then returned to Real Madrid but again failed to remove Karim Benzema from the starting eleven. Hence he was sold to Chelsea. At Stamford Bridge, Morata came with high expectations but failed to live up to them. He scored a few goals but was nowhere near prolific.

Morata then joined Atletico Madrid on loan and though he did not impress that much, the Rojiblancos decided to sign him permanently from Chelsea. His second season was instantly a hit and he gradually became a fan favourite at the Wanda Metropolitano. However, with Luis Suarez's arrival last season, Morata was loaned out to Juventus. He had a fairly decent season in Serie A, netting 11 goals and assisting nine more goals.


#1 Achraf Hakimi

Real Madrid v FC Internazionale: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid v FC Internazionale: Group B - UEFA Champions League

Achraf Hakimi was a trailblazer coming out of the Real Madrid academy. He joined Real Madrid academy a few years ago and in no time made it to Castilla. Hakimi is predominantly a right-back but can also play as a right wing-back or even up ahead on the right channel. Despite impressing everyone at Real Madrid, Hakimi failed to cement a spot in the senior team mainly because of Dani Carvajal. The Spaniard provided balance to the system and his defensive prowess was better than that of Hakimi, who is more of an attacking minded full back. Hence the youngster was restricted to a bench role at Real Madrid.

Hakimi had to play second fiddle to Carvajal at Real Madrid

Allowing him more opportunities to grow and develop as a player, Real Madrid loaned him to Borussia Dortmund. Hakimi took the Bundesliga by storm as the fast-paced league in Germany suited his style of play. He combined with Jadon Sancho on the right flank to create mayhem for the opposition defenders.

In the 2019-20 season, Hakimi was exceptional at Signal Iduna Park as he finished the season scoring 5 goals and providing as many as 10 assists. However, he then returned to the Spanish capital only to join Antonio Conte's Internazionale. The Moroccan once again flourished in Conte's system where he was allowed to bomb forward through the right channel and create several chances for the forwards. It was an exceptional season for Hakimi as he guided the Nerazzurri to a historic Serie A title, ending Juventus' dominance.

Hakimi has joined PSG in a big money move as Inter Milan's struggle to balance the books continues.

Edited by Nived Zenith

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