With Barcelona's La Masia finally reaping the rewards of a decade of internal planning while their rivals field a team full of established stars, Real Madrid's youth academy comparatively underrated.
I wrote a piece discussing how great Castilla actually is, even if the results of such great player development are not usually seen in Madrid.
Right now Madrid is definitely still a team composed of Galacticos that prefers to send its youth products out rather than utilize them, but UEFA's new Financial Fair Play regulations could see the club shift to a more internal approach in the coming years.
There are currently a few young players making the case for just that. A few of them were on display against Ajax, in fact.
The fruits of labor
Jose Callejon, Nacho Fernandez, Alvaro Morata and Jose Rodriguez all featured in the final Group D match. They are some of the brightest young stars to come out of Castilla in the last few years.
Callejon scored a pair of goals, while Morata, while unspectacular overall, continued to show signs of becoming a great forward who can create goals as easily as score them.
Nacho also had a fine showing and looked nothing like the defensive liability he was before joining the senior side.
Castilla makes history
Jose Rodriguez had the shortest stint, but will certainly have the greatest legacy from this match. The 17-year-old's name has now been etched over that of club legend Raul.
Against Ajax—a club still deservedly renowned for its fantastic youth academy—Rodriguez became the youngest Real Madrid player to ever feature in a Champions League match.
Chances are that most of the great young Castilla products will find themselves being shipped out within a few years, but that would not make them a failure.
As the likes of Juan Mata, Roberto Soldado, Javi Garcia, and Alvaro Negredo have proven, Madrid has never had a problem producing elite talent.
It's just that difficult to hold down a place at the historic club.