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Raul playing in 1996
Here's one of the most dredged-up arguments about Real Madrid: they spend massive money on superstar signings instead of bringing through their youth talents.
With Barcelona doing plenty of great work in the opposite direction, it's a very easy way to target Real Madrid.
But does it have substance? Some say yes.
Well, it does and it doesn't, depending on which way you look at it.
Go back through the years and you'll see the fantastic list of former Real Madrid C-team players who went on to represent the first team: Guti, Alfonso, Raul of course—and not to mention current players Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa (via spells at Depor and Liverpool) and Jose Callejon.
There is also the case of Ruben de la Red, who would doubtless have still been performing for Real had he not been forced to retire.
However, there is also no doubt that an astonishing number of players played in the lower trenches of Real's tiered system before being inexplicably allowed to join other teams: Juan Mata, Borja Valero, Esteban Cambiasso and Samuel Eto'o are maybe the biggest and best examples.
A decade ago, Real looked to focus on bringing defenders through their ranks whilst splashing out on the attacking half of the team, but a succession of failures to be good enough—such as Oscar Minambres, Francisco Pavon, Alvaro Mejia and Raul Bravo—perhaps point to the fact that the players, rather than the system, weren't good enough.
But Real Madrid do not have a policy against bringing through players. There are big hopes that the likes of Alvaro Morata and Jese will go on to succeed where Javi Portillo and Daniel Carvajal failed—in making themselves regular members of the first team squad over a sustained period of time.
Whether the current manager is the one to oversee that transition is another point, but the club itself quite clearly have an agenda, which includes youth improvement.