This week there was a revelation that La Masia is the best Academy in the world because it produced the biggest amount of players in the top 5 leagues. This link shows, Barcelona is number one, followed by Manchester United and Real Madrid. So is this the proof that Barcelona youth academy is really the best in the world ?
My opinion is that this table doesn’t prove anything. Firstly the total number of players isn’t that big. The last club on the list is Sporting with 12 players and Barcelona is first with 43 players. This isn’t that big of a difference. It also doesn’t show who are these players. Are this the key players at their clubs or just bench warmers.
Thirdly, this doesn’t show scouting network. The biggest clubs have betters scouting networks, which means, they can take young players from other clubs sooner. Lionel Messi is a perfect example of that. He was part of Newell’s Old Boys youth academy, but than Barcelona sign him when he was 13 years old. Every big club is doing similar stuff, which begs the question, does Barcelona have the best youth academy or best scouting network.
Lastly, it doesn’t take into account all the other leagues and other clubs. I believe that River Plate producing 17 players is better that Barcelona producing 43 players, because River isn’t that big and it’s not located in Europe. I believe that smaller clubs like Le Havre and Műnchen 1860 should get the praise because, they manage to train quality players without the big budget scouting network.
I think that La Masia is a great academy, but I don’t think it is the best in the world. I don’t think that there is or ever will be the best academy in the world of football. The reason for this, is that the future is unpredictable. A prodigy can became quite average when he grows up (Bojan Krkic), and below average defender can became the best attacker (Didier Drogba).