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Real Madrid's youth academy creating revenue but not first team players

  /  autty

Over the past decade, La Fábrica has brought in 300 million euros, but only four players from the youth teams have made the grade with Madrid's first team.

There is no shortage of talent at Real Madrid's youth academy in Valdebebas - or money. During the past decade, Real Madrid have boosted their coffers by 300 million euros by selling players who have come up through the youth teams and that has proved a significant source of income for the club. According to the club's official figures, the cost of running their youth academy is 20.8 million euros per year, which shows that in terms of profit at least, it has been a very successful enterprise. However, on a sporting level, since 20089, Madrid have tended to sell most of their home-grown players rather than groom them for their own first team squad.

Four home-grown players in Madrid's first team squad

Out of La Fábrica, 83 players are currently playing for other clubs - 42 in Spain and 41 abroad. In Zidane's squad, just four players have come up through the ranks at the club -  Carvajal, Nacho, Lucas Vázquez and Mariano. The first three have furthered their careers alongside the senior players albeit in different measures of success, while Mariano has made a smaller contribution although he has managed to keep his place in the second most successful Madrid side of all-time.

Carvajal, who as a kid symbolically laid the cornerstone of Madrid's new sporting complex in 2004, entered the academy two years earlier in 2002 and was registered for the first team squad in 2013; Nacho, joined in 2001 and made the first team squad in 2012; Lucas, in 2007 and 2015; and Mariano, in 2011 and 2015, leaving to join Olympique Lyon in 2017 only to return to the Bernabéu the following year.

Mariano, the last to emerge

So the most recent player to have graduated from Madrid's youth team was Mariano in 2018 and before him, Lucas in 2015. The most similar examples are Casemiro and Fede Valverde - the Brazilian was signed for Castilla when he was almost 21 years old and spent just six months in the reserves before being loaned out;  the Uruguayan was brought on board when he was 18 years old and spent just one season with the second team. So strictly speaking they are not really players who have come up through the youth system but rather form part of a new generation of players who represent the club's recent policy of of signing young talent from clubs in all parts of the world.

Youth players who will be moving on this summer

The situation at the club as far as youth team players is concerned is also significant. While Odriozola will rejoin the squad to compete for the right-back slot with Carvajal, Achraf Hakimi, who enjoyed two magnificent seasons on loan in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, was sold to Inter Milan for 40 million euros. Luca Zidane, who spent 16 years at the club and made two first team appearances, has not renewed his contract following his recent loan spell at Racing. Valladolid have secured 50% of Javi Sánchez's economic rights - a players who made five appearances with the senior side in 2018-19. And the club will gain more income from selling Borja Mayoral and Óscar. That could also be the case with Reguilón although the club's idea is to sell him but with a buy-back clause.

Looking back over the years and the players who have come through Madrid youth programme but for whatever reason, not made the grade, there are some well known names - Marcos Llorente (39 games for Madrid), De Tomás (1), Cheryshev (7), Callejón (77), Sarabia (1) and Parejo (5). Perhaps the player who was closest to making the transition from youth team player to first team player was Morata (95 appearances).

It's not an issue that particularly worries Madrid,who continue bringing players through knowing full well that only a few of them will go on to triumph. "If they go on to make the first team, we'll be delighted, but there isn't room for all of them," Florentino explained in the most recent General Assembly.