For many young players, the journey towards becoming a professional footballer begins at an academy. These academies are designed to give young players the resources they need to enhance their abilities, learn new techniques & develop the mental and physical strength required to succeed at the highest level. As a result, many top football clubs have established academies to develop the next generation of players.
But which academies are the best? That is a difficult question to answer, as there are many factors to consider. However, based on a number of factors including the quality of coaching, the track record of producing professional players & the facilities on offer, here is my ranking of the 5 best football academies in the world.
5. Bayern Munich Youth Academy
Bayern Munich Youth Academy is one of Germany’s top academies. The academy is known for developing young players who are strong, physical & capable of playing the “Bayern way” of high-pressing, attacking football.
The Bayern Munich Youth Academy’s facilities are among the best in the world. The academy has 8 football fields. The Academy also has a stadium with a capacity of 2500. The facilities are intended to support the players overall development including their physical, mental & emotional well-being.
The Bayern Munich Youth Academy has produced some of the world’s most talented players. Among the academy’s notable graduates are Thomas Muller, David Alaba & Joshua Kimmich, all of whom are regulars in Bayern Munich’s first team. Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franz Beckenbauer & Philipp Lahm are other notable graduates who have had successful careers at Bayern Munich.
4. Real Madrid La Fábrica Academy
Real Madrid’s La Fabrica academy is another top academy that has produced some of the best players in the world. Located at the club’s training ground, the academy has a reputation for developing technically gifted players who are comfortable on the ball.
The selection process for La Fabrica Academy is extremely rigorous. Young players from all over Spain and the world have to go through a series of trials and tests before they can be considered for admission. The academy looks for players with exceptional technical ability, physical strength & mental toughness.
Some of the greatest soccer players in history have come from La Fabrica over the years. Iker Casillas, Emilio Butragueno, Guti and Raul Gonzalez are a few of the academy’s most well-known graduates. Both at the club and international levels, these players have gone on to experience remarkable success.
3. Manchester United Academy
One of the most successful clubs in English football history, Manchester United & their academy has been a key factor in that success. The academy offers a top-notch football player training system at the club’s Carrington Training Center in Greater Manchester, England.
Modern training fields, indoor training spaces, a gym, a swimming pool and other amenities are all available at the Manchester United Academy. The academy also boasts a global scouting network & it is constantly on the hunt for young talent with the potential to play for Manchester United.
Some of the world’s best footballers have come out of the Manchester United Academy over the years. Some players who went on to become legendary figures in the game came from the academy, including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville & many others.
2. Ajax Youth Academy
Ajax Youth Academy is another leading academy that has produced some of the world’s best players. The academy which is based in Amsterdam has a reputation for producing young players who are comfortable on the ball and capable of playing the “Ajax way” of attractive, attacking football.
The Ajax Youth Academy is renowned for its unique coaching style which stresses technical skills, creativity & intelligence. Ajax’s coaches put an emphasis on the development of a player’s footballing brain and technique which they think is crucial for players to gain results at the highest level.
Ajax Youth Academy has produced some of football’s most prominent players. Johan Cruyff, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, began his career at Ajax. Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp and many other notable players have graduated from the academy. Ajax continues to produce high-level players including recent graduates Matthijs de Ligt, Donny van de Beek, Christian Eriksen and Frenkie de Jong.
1. FC Barcelona's La Masia Academy
The La Masia academy at FC Barcelona is regarded as the best academy in the world. Barcelona came out as one of the greatest clubs in world with the help of its players from the youth academy.
Johan Cruyff’s “total football” philosophy serves as the foundation for La Masia’s coaching philosophy. Players receive training to play in a manner that promotes ball possession, off-ball movement and aggressive football. Respect, humility and teamwork are principles that the academy places a high priority on & it attempts to inculcate these values in all of its players.
Some of the greatest football players in the world have come out of La Masia. Several graduates of the academy have gone on to play for FC Barcelona and other top teams all around the world. Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Pep Guardiola & Sergio Busquets are a few of the most well-known players who have trained at La Masia.