Real Madrid's youth academy has benefited the club's senior team–and others around Europe as well.
Real Madrid may be one of the most attractive clubs in the world when it comes to signing players, but Los Blancos also have a prolific youth academy that is regularly churning out top class talent.
Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Lucas Vazquez are among those in the current Real squad to have been developed in the club's youth setup, but there are plenty of others across Europe, including the likes of Juan Mata, Alvaro Morata, Juanfran and Borja Valero who have come through.
The latest research from the CIES Football Observatory has revealed that Real have actually produced far more players currently playing in one of Europe's top five leagues - Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 - than any other club.
There are as many as 41 players out there who can trace their roots to Real's junior ranks, with eight of that number still with Los Blancos as part of the first-team squad - 18-year-old Madrid-born Morocco international Achraf Hakimi was the latest to be promoted.
Clásico rivals Barcelona have produced 34 players, seven of whom are still registered at Camp Nou, while Lyon's talent conveyor belt can count 31 players in Europe's top five leagues. The French club actually still holds 11 of those individuals, including star forward Nabil Fekir.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Athletic Bilbao have produced a lot of players currently plying their trade in one of Europe's top five leagues, 29 to be precise. As many as 20 of those are still at San Mames as a result of the club's strict but honorable Basque-born players only policy.
Manchester United round off the top five in the list, with 28 academy graduates playing in the top flight in either England, Spain, Italy, Germany or France. Perhaps disappointingly for fans at Old Trafford used to seeing home-grown players, only five have been good enough to stay.
Rennes are a club known for producing young talent and their academy can claim that 22 graduates are currently playing at the highest level - that includes £40m Chelsea enforcer Tiemoue Bakayoko and €105m Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.
Arsenal have 21 former academy players at clubs in Europe's top 5 leagues, as do Monaco. The only non-European club to feature in the top 25 on the list is River Plate, with the Argentinean giant's youth academy delivering 17 current players to Europe's best top flights.
Top 25 Clubs Producing Players Currently Playing in Europe's 'Big 5' Leagues:
|Club||Players in 'Big 5' Leagues||Still at Developing Club|