Most successful academies in football ranked – including Man Utd and Chelsea

There’s nothing quite like watching a player from your club’s academy make their debut for the first-team.

Manchester United’s Class of 92 went down in history, while Barcelona and Real Madrid have always enjoyed a rich tradition of bringing through stars for the future.

But success stories at the same team, is still a rare occurence. The majority of players are forced to broaden their horizons and move on to find first-team football.

Chelsea have become infamous for their tactic of loaning out youngsters across the world, with many making a name for themselves elsewhere.

But which academy have the best hit-rate in current football?

The CIES Football Observatory have looked at the players plying their trade in Europe’s top-five leagues  – and where they were produced.

CIES define a training club as “those where players have been for at least three seasons between 15 and 21 years of age”.

Unsurprisingly, Man Utd lead the Premier League clubs with 24, with Arsenal and Chelsea just behind.

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Ajax are another team that will surprise nobody, as Donny van de Beek and Frenkie De Jong can attest.

Barcelona’s La Masia academy has produced some of the best players in the history of the game, but they are edged out by their old rivals, Real Madrid.

Los Blancos have a staggering 43 players in Europe’s top-five leagues, including former Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata and Tottenham new-boy Sergio Reguillon.

(Number of active players in Europe’s big-five leagues)

15. Ajax (20)

14. Chelsea (20)

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13. Atletico Madrid (21)

12. AS Monaco (22)

11 Saint Etienne (22)

10. Arsenal (23)


9. Man Utd (24)

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8. Rennes (25)

7. Athletic Bilbao (25)

6. Real Sociedad (26)

5. Valencia (28)

4. Paris Saint-Germain (29)

3. Lyon (31)

2. Barcelona (32)

1. Real Madrid (43)

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