When talking about successful football academies it’s impossible not to think of Barcelona. The club has dominated in the domestic league and across Europe for years. Seen as one of the best clubs in the world, it is home to the best player of all time. Not only is Lionel Messi the greatest player in the world but he is a Barcelona academy graduate.

La Mesia or The Farmhouse is the name given to the Barcelona youth academy. Named the Farmhouse is surely has produced many high bread animals. With over 300 players attending the academy at one time it has been famed at creating Barcelona’s ongoing success since 2002. La Mesia has broken numerous records namely boasting 3 Ballon d’Or finalists from the same year in Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

Notable success for the academy beyond the numerous domestic titles and cups are:

  • 2009 Lionel Messi was named as the first La Mesia player to receive the Ballon d’Or.
  • 2010 World Cup success fielding 5> academy players.
  • 2008, 2012 European Cup fielding 5> academy players.
  • 2012 Barcelona fielded a full 11 La Mesia players in the same team.



Real Madrid’s youth academy or La Fabrica (the Factory) cannot boast as much recent success as Barcelona. The academy is famed for its past successes, mainly during the 80’s when Madrid ruled European competitions.  There is still a steady flow of good young talent moving through the academy although mostly to strengthen other La Liga sides truth be told. After a 100 million euro investment the Farmhouse was renovated now housing all Real Madrid teams from the first team to the U8 Prebenjamin youth team.

To really see the success of the academy we need to go back sometime. The Real Madrid of the 80’s largely consisted of Farm House graduates. It’s hard to understand how with such a high conversion rate things could change in such a short time.  Real Madrid have not been short on titles since 80’s but have opted more and more for record signings above home grown talent.

Never the less here is a look at the notable success from La Fabrica:

  • 1980s 5 consecutive La Liga titles 10> La Fabrica players
  • 1980s 2 consecutive EUFA cup titles (Europa League) 10> La Fabrica players
  • 1980s 3 consecutive European Cup (Champions league) 10> La Fabrica players

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