Barcelona has highest number of its players in European elite leagues – but you’ll never guess who is second
A few years ago I wondered if Arsenal had the highest number of its ex-players in the Premiership. It seemed that every club had their own product of the Arsenal youth team whether they be a Sidwell, Hoyte or a Bothroyd.
However the latest figures of who has the most of its players (ok you can call some of them rejects) playing in Elite Leagues across Europe have been compiled by the always excellent Sporting Intelligence and you can guess who is top.
Yep those crafty Catalans of Barcelona have produced 38 players at top-flight clubs in either Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga 1 or France’s Ligue 1.
The post classifies the words ‘produced’ as
A player spent three or more years within the development programme of the club in question specifically between the ages of 15 and 21, which are considered a footballer’s most important ‘formative’ years.
The big surprise is whose academy is in second. Nope it is not Arsenal (a lowly 13th), United (5th), Bayern Munich (6th) or even Real Madrid (3rd,) but French side Olympique Lyonnais which has 31 players in the elite leagues. The list of their ex players is hugely impressive and you can see it here. I guess their high showing, along with the even more unlikely Stade Rennais who nabbed 4th, is because they not only ship out players to other French teams but also get their best players snapped up by English and Italian teams. Notable graduates from the Rennes academy include; Petr Čech, Stéphane Mbia and Jimmy Briand.
Aston Villa, Spurs, West Ham and Newcastle all make the 40, but there’s no sign of moneybags Chelsea and Man City.
Pic from PA