Real Madrid: home of the Galacticos.
Whenever you talk about Real, you talk about the big names and ridiculous money spent, but never do you speak of the Real Madrid Cantera.
With all the FIFA World Players and Ballon d'Or winners, the academy lays forgotten so much so that some people even go to the extent of suggesting that Real Madrid doesn't have an academy, while Barcelona are said to have the best in the world.
Barcelona's academy is not the best, Real's is, and even they (Barca) know it.
What Barcelona has is the best youth policy in the world. They play their own players over any world class imports and for that I respect them; respect for Barca from the mouth of a Madrista seems odd, doesn't it?
Up until the fourth year of Vicente Del Bosque's reign, the Cantera was the main provider of first-team players like Raul, Guti, and Casillas (although just 16, he was then substitute goalkeeper) who were coming through the ranks. However, the dawn of the Galactico era changed it all.
With stars such as Luis Figo, Zidane Zidane, Ronaldo, and Roberto Carlos in the side, academy players found their opportunities limited and the Cantera players started to think that it was impossible to break in to the first team.
Unfortunately, that was very true, and what is even more sad is that this trend exists more prominently now.
Directors at the Cantera let these players go so that they did not ruin their chances of a better career.
With the end of the reign of Florentino Perez, one would have expected renewed importance of the Cantera, but the opposite happened.
Instead of promoting players from the Cantera to the first team, young players like Gago, Marcelo, and Higuain (I am not complaining about Higuain, though) were signed for the first team, adding insult to injury for the Cantera players.
Due to the Galactico era, now nearly every team in La Liga has an ex-Real Madrid player. Although many left Real Madrid, but to name a few that hurt Real the most:
- Diego Lopez (Goalkeeper - Villareal)
- Samuel Eto'o (Striker - FC Barcelona)
- Juan Mata (Left Winger - Valencia)
- Alvaro Negredo (Striker - Almeria)
- Alvaro Arbeloa (Right Back - Liverpool)
- David Moreno (Right Winger - Almeria) (He is known as the Messi of Spain although he's just 17)
- Jose Manuel Jurado (Attacking Midfielder - Atletico Madrid loaned to Mallorca)
Although the Galacticos Era might have blessed Real Madrid with the best of the players the world can offer, there is a hollow feeling as many were not their own.
I would like to thank Maire Ofeire, Co-Community Leader of Arsenal, for helping me out in this article.