Sun 15 August 2021 | 7:30

Best Youth Academies in 2020

Sportmob brings you the full account of the best youth academies in 2020. Stay tuned and let’s begin.

It is every little boy’s dream to become a professional footballer and there are numerous youth academies in the world. However, not everyone gets to be at the top and mark the acme of their career in football. Best footballers in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi owe their development to the football academies they first set foot in.

Youth systems play an important role in the production of professional footballers. Talent is very important, however, youth systems and hard work are essential for the process. So you can imagine how youth systems could play a huge role in the footballer’s development. In this article, we are going to walk you through the best youth academies in 2020. Join us in this journey.

The Importance of Youth Academies in Football 

Sir Alex Ferguson stated about the importance of youth systems: “It’s so much easier to produce a consistent level of high performance when you nourish youngsters, help them develop and provide them a pathway to success. Youngsters can inject a fantastic spirit into an organization and a youngster will never forget the person or organization that gave them their first big chance. They will repay it with a loyalty that lasts a lifetime.”

Ranking the Best Youth Academies in World

Youth systems and football academies are the keys to success and not only they are essential for the individual’s development but they are also vital for the team’s structure and victories. We have listed the top 10 football academies around the world in 2020 in the following so stay tuned and let’s begin.

10. Arsenal

Number 10 of our list belongs to the gunner’s youth system. Arsenal football club academy is the youth system of the club which is based in London, England. The academy is the highest level of the youth system in England. Currently, the former footballer Per Mertesacker is the manager of the academy. Arsenal is one of England’s most successful youth systems. So far they have won even FA Youth Cups together with six Premier Academy League titles altogether. Several talented footballers have graduated from Arsenal. Thierry Henry made his breakthrough with the club’s first team and in February 2015 following his retirement from football he first started coaching Arsenal’s youth team. 

He made a lot of wonders and inspired young players at the time. Arsenal’s youth systems produced many wonder kids including Alex Iwobi, an agile player who is one of Arsenal’s most recent products. He is a hardworking footballer with great talent and has turned him into a tough opponent on the field. Ashly Cole is another graduate of Arsenal’s academy who is despised by Arsenal fans, and the reason is he switched to the gunner’s long-time rivalry, Chelsea. Arsene Wenger has described him: “He is a defender who simply loves to attack.” Find out more details about the

best youth academies in 2020

in the following.

9. Manchester United 

Man United

under 23 team was the champion of the former Premier Reserve League five times. They managed to win numerous titles and championships over the years. Currently, the team is being managed by Neil Wood who was assigned after Ricky Sbragia got sacked in 2019. Man United is where football prodigies like Ryan Giggs found their way to the top. The footballer showed pure talent at the time he began his career with Man United.

The legendary

David Beckham

also started his professional career with the club. Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson described the player: “David Beckham is Britain's finest striker of a football not because of God-given talent but because he practices with a relentless application that the vast majority of less gifted players wouldn't contemplate.” As for young players, Jesse Lingard has started his career with Man United and he still makes wonders at the club.

Lingard has managed to win the UEFA Europa League, FA Cup, FA Community Shield, and EFL Cup with the club and became one of only footballers to score in all of the latter three finals. Michael Carrick has stated about him: “How he plays, he is unique in some ways. You don’t see so much of that now as everyone wants to get on the ball. Off the ball, he’s very effective.” Find out more details about the best youth academies in 2020 in the following.

8. Rennes

Let’s proceed with our list of top 10 football academies around the world in 2020 with Rennes football academy which was founded in 1977 and it’s the best youth system in France. Between 2005 and 2006 the football academy was awarded the title of best Football Academy in France. Numerous talented footballers graduated from this youth club and marked the acme of their success. Sylvain Wiltord the former French footballer first started his professional career at Rennes back in 1991. A versatile player who played mainly as a right-winger.

Wiltord was praised for his great goal-scoring abilities. In his career, he managed to score 195 goals, and he scored 34 of them when he was at Rennes. As for the young footballers who are the product of this youth system there is Tiémoué Bakayoko a 26 years old midfielder who currently plays for


. He was graduated from Renne's youth system back in 2014.

Didier Deschamps

the French boss stated about him: “He has an important athletic presence, he's good at recovery, he scores decisive goals and is able to project himself.” Stay tuned for more details about the best youth academies in 2020.

7. Athletic Bilbao 

Ranking the best youth academies in the world we came across Athletic Bilbao which is a famous youth academy and develops young talents from childhood through adult teams. Jon Solaun, who played for the club and now coaches their Under-16 team stated: “This football club becomes part of our identity from the second we’re born. Any boy born within a 60 km radius of here is showered with Athletic balloons and gifts; maternity wards are plastered in red and white. I was born in Bilbao and to put on this tracksuit and represent this club is everything to me.”

He added: “I know the boys feel the same pride. We all feel like a piece of history here as a family. It’s incredible for the kids to be around one another and watch each other grow through the categories as both people and players. When a Lezama kid pulls on the red and white in San Mamés, we all feel a great sense of triumph.” As for the graduates of the club,

Fernando Llorente

is one of the best strikers and an idol for all. He established himself as a professional footballer at the club and managed to make it to the top. He is well known for his goal-scoring abilities and technical skills.

6. Real Sociedad

Among the

top 10 football academies around the world in 2020

there is Real Sociedad which shapes young talents into professional footballers. The club is based in the club training complex, Zubieta, which is often the name used informally to refer to the system itself. Xabi Alonso a former professional footballer who is currently a manager at Real Sociedad B, graduated from this youth system. He is best regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation with great goal-scoring ability.

Steven Gerrard named him the best midfielder ever who played alongside him. In 2017,

Pep Guardiola

described Alonso as one of the best midfielders he had ever seen in his life. Real Sociedad is also where the famous footballer Antoine Griezmann grew through the ranks and made his way to the top.

Academy director Luki Iriarte stated about him: “When this lad played, different things happened. He was just different. So tiny, so skinny. We looked to protect him a lot. We just knew he was special. He couldn’t find a club in France, having trailed in quite a few. The French way of playing didn’t suit him – it’s more physical and they looked for bigger players – but his football IQ, awareness and vision of play were things that we placed above his lack of physical components. We knew he was different.” Stay tuned for more details about the

best youth academies in 2020


5. Valencia

Valencia Club de Futbol Juvenil is the under-19 Spanish youth system that is based in Valencia.

David Silva

is a Spanish professional footballer and a product of the Valencia youth system. He spent six years at Valencia and established himself as a professional attacking midfielder. Xavi stated about him: “He’s a spectacular footballer. He has been throughout his career. For the national team, he has been a cornerstone of that generation of highly talented Spanish footballers.

David was a vital component and absolutely essential to that team - one of the most talented players Spain has ever produced, without a shadow of a doubt.” Isco was also a product of

Valencia CF

, a Spanish professional footballer who currently plays as an attacking midfielder for Real Madrid. He spent two seasons at the reserve team and made his way to the top.

A fast and skilled footballer with great balance and ball control. Back in 2013, Marca journalist Pablo Polo praised him and named him the most promising young player in Spanish football. He also compared him to Sergio Agüero stated that his vision and passing capabilities are a lot like Zinedine Zidane. Former Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas predicted in 2015 that Isco would become Spain's most important player. Learn more details about best youth academies in 2020 in the following.

4. Paris Saint Germain Youth Club 

Ranking the best youth academies in the world

, we came across the PSG youth system which supports both the PSG men’s team and PSG women’s team. The football academy was first founded in 1970 at Camp des Loges, France. Now the academy has several centers around the world. Numerous young talents graduated from this youth system such as Luis Fernandez, Jean-Marc Pilorget, Kingsley Coman, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Presnel Kimpembe, Alphonse Areola and etc.

PSG youth system earned the name for the best youth club by the French Football Federation on four occasions. The club has won numerous championships as well. The men under 19 team have won a record, four Championnat National U19 titles, one Coupe Gambardella, and one Tournoi Carisport. The female team under 19 has won the Championnat National Féminin U19 three times. 

On the International level, the under 19 men won the Tournoi Européen des Centres U21 and reached the UEFA Youth League final in 2015–16. The men under 17 have won a record, three Alkass International Cups, and one Montaigu Tournament. Also, the now-defunct men's reserve team won three Coupe de Paris. One of the best examples of PSG youth system graduates is

Kingsley Coman

. A 25 years old winger who currently plays for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and the France national team. In 2004 he joined the football academy and fully dedicated himself to become a professional footballer.

He spent nine years in the club’s youth system and finally made it to the top.

Thomas Müller

stated about him: “we have many players who have very good qualities. We know that Kingsley has extraordinary skills that aren't easy to find. If he puts his foot down on the gas – and he has incredible horsepower – every opponent has a tough time against him. He worked the left flank well. He's always been fleet-footed. If he can now add chances that lead to goals, then he is solid gold to us.” Stay tuned for further details about best youth academies in 2020.

3. Lyon 

One of the

best football academies in the world in 2020

is Lyon. It was founded back in 1896 and since1987 the club is owned by Jean-Michel Aulas. Lyon is a club with numerous supporters in France. They are nicknamed Les Gones which means “The Kids”. Several football stars graduated from Lyon and made a name for themselves. The famous football star Karim Benzema graduated from Lyon as well. He is a French professional footballer who plays as a striker for Real Madrid and France national team. He started his professional career by joining Lyon B back in 2004.


stayed there for two seasons and established himself as a professional striker. He is now highly regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. Mourinho stated about him: “Benzema in Madrid was a bad boy. He was a kid that arrived in the previous season from Lyon. He was 19 when he went for Madrid and it was too much for him at the time. Progressively, he was an amazing player. We speak about Harry [Kane] for example and look to Karim and lots of similar qualities.” 

He added: “He’s the kind of striker who if he doesn’t score lots of goals, he still plays amazing for the team. Karim is a fantastic player. When I say bad boy I say he was a young guy, not married, not with kids and the family life. He’s very stable and mature. He thinks about football and thinks about winning and thinks about being a legend with that club, which he already is.” Corentin Tolisso also graduated from Lyon. The footballer is a promising young player who currently plays as a central midfielder for Bayern Munich.

As for other footballers, Alexandre Lacazette started his professional career at Lyon back in 2003. He currently plays as a forward for Premier League Club Arsenal and the France national team with amazing goal-scoring abilities and a bright future ahead. In 2001, Anthony Martial began his professional career at


and managed to grow well. In 2015 the forward won Golden Boy Award for the best under-21 player in Europe. Currently, he plays for Premier League club Manchester United and the France national team. Stay tuned for further details about

best youth academies in 2020


2. Barcelona

Barcelona youth club One of the best football academies in the world in 2020. Its commonly known as La Masia was founded back on 20 October 1979. The main rivals of Juvenil A team in the Group III of the División de Honor Juvenil de Fútbol is mainly Espanyol, Damm and Mallorca. Several Football stars and future managers grow in the Barcelona youth system and made their way to the top. Andres Iniesta is a Spanish professional midfielder who spent most of his career in Barcelona. He is considered one of the best midfielders of his generation. At the Tokyo leg of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola, Gilberto Silva praised him for his extraordinary style of play and stated: “It's amazing.”

He further explained: “Iniesta, he's like a master of the game in the middle of the park, and the way he plays, the ability, it looks so easy for him. Maybe not (easy) for me to play the way he plays.”


youth system produced football stars like Mikel Arteta, Luis García and Gerard Piqué. The future manager Pep Guardiola also became a professional at the Barcelona youth system. Further stars of the club including Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, and Cesc Fàbregas considered him an idol and were inspired by his style of play. Four-time winner of Ballon D'or Lionel Messi recently left Barcelona after 21 years serving the club.

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source: SportMob

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