In the difficult summer of 2020, the first of the pandemic, Madrid did not get rid of grandmother’s jewels to soften the economic impact of the covid, but rather children’s jewels. In that window, the club closed the tap on transfers and brought in up to 101 million thanks to the sale of some of its youngsters with the most billing -Achraf (43) and Reguilón (30) in the lead-, and another dozen operations with the minor cut quarry. And a year later, still under the blow of the plague, he returned to make cash with the then downcast Martin Odegaard (35).
The stands now look expectantly at the appearance of striker Álvaro Rodríguez (18 years old; a goal and an assist in 38 minutes), the most emerging name today in an academy that has been standing out for three aspects: its ability to produce many players for the elite , the ability of the offices to obtain a benefit in the treasury with them and, nevertheless, the scarcity in the first team in the last decade of new footballers formed from the base of Valdebebas. Carvajal, Nacho and Lucas Vázquez, graduates between 2012 and 2014, are the most recent cases to really settle at the Bernabéu. Three players from the middle of the field to the back. Madrid has made young people a pillar of its sports strategy, but the new talents that break it the most today were trained abroad: Vinicius, Rodrygo and Valverde. Three of the medullary up.
“Your youth academy is a business model”, summarizes an analyst from one of the most important agencies in the market. “Their objective is to attract big projects, look for performance, for the kids to reach Castilla and, from there, make their way however they can. Of course, reaching the subsidiary ensures them to be professionals, and I don’t see that at Barcelona B as guaranteed, ”says this expert. However, La Masia, traditionally inclined towards a more specific type of player in the culé style, has placed two key pieces (Gavi and Araujo) in the Barca relaunch, also due to financial needs.
The talents that have exploded have come from outside; Vini, Rodrygo and Valverde
In what there are no gray is in the profitability of Madrid with its academy. In the last decade, the white entity has obtained a net collection of 315 million with the purchase and sale of footballers who have passed through Castilla, according to the calculation of this newspaper with the figures of the specialized website transfer markt (Vinicius and Rodrygo are left out because the size of their signings placed them directly in Chamartín’s orbit). Morata (56), Achraf, Odegaard, Reguilón and Marcos Llorente (30) have been the biggest sales in this period, although retail has also reported significant income. The center-back Mario Gila (22 years old), with only 23 minutes in the big locker room, was transferred to Lazio in the summer for six million and has not yet started in Serie A.
No academy has as many players this season in the five major leagues as Madrid, according to the CIES Observatory (International Center for Sports Studies): 43, ahead of Barcelona (38), and PSG and Lyon (34). However, the usual shortage of new Castillo faces in the first team ends up opening the debate. Only since the Mundialito, Carlo Ancelotti, like his predecessors before, has felt pushed to explain himself on two occasions. “No one forgets the youth academy, but you have to keep in mind that the level of the squad is very high,” he pointed out after the goal against Al Ahly by Sergio Arribas (21 years old), whom he had brought out in 97 with 3 -1 in favor. And last Friday, he returned of their own accord to the question. “Sometimes they tell me that I don’t use the quarry. Someone forgets that I put a 17-year-old goalkeeper, Buffon. Because he was better than the others, ”he warned. Another recent report from CIES indicates that, estimating the value of players from 50 professional leagues, Madrid’s academy ranks 14th (359 million), far behind Benfica (670), Chelsea (630) and Barcelona (581).
The last one with continuity to emerge from below is Mariano, a case on the sidelines: the club hasn’t wanted him for a long time (his contract ends in June) and they haven’t made a profit with him either (they sold him for eight million to Lyon and repurchased him for 21 ,5). The last one who really took root was Lucas Vázquez, in La Castellana since 2015.
Ancelotti is justified twice in the last month for his use of the base
The Galician, together with Carvajal, are presented as the best examples of an unwritten rule that has permeated the club: to establish himself with a certain weight in the first team, coming from the base, first you have to accumulate flight hours in another team, because the jump from Castilla (third category) is considered too big. Lucas Vázquez did it at Espanyol and Carvajal at Leverkusen. Medium-high steps where there was room for them.
The only one who haggled this step in this decade was Nacho, whose renewal is now in doubt after many years of frustration due to his insufficient weight. Álvaro Rodríguez, waiting to see his evolution, will go up to the first team next year, according to Ancelotti, taking advantage of the big hole in that position, in the shadow of Benzema.
Of the many with which Madrid has obtained an economic slice, only Achraf and, at the moment, Odegaard are on the European front line. Morata (great example of profitability) has not broken, Llorente has lost weight and Jesé crashed. Above all, what has distinguished the white quarry is its extensive economic performance.
The cut for the treasury, in figures
Balance since 2013. Madrid has sold players who went through Castilla for a value of 404 million in the last decade and has spent 89, according to figures from the website transfer markt. The balance in your favor is 315.
Greater sales. Morata, 56 million (sold for 20 to Juve in 2014, refished for 30 in 2016, and transferred for 66 to Chelsea in 2017); Achraf, 43; Odegaard, 36.2 (it cost him 2.8 in 2015, he sold it for 35 to Arsenal in 2021 and in between he obtained four million in transfers); Reguilón and Marcos Llorente, 30 each; and Jesse, 25.
retail For Mayoral he has obtained 19.5 million (10 from the sale to Getafe and another 9.5 in various assignments to Wolfsburg, Levante and Roma); Raúl de Tomás, 21; Oscar Rodriguez, 14; and Cheryshev and Mascarell, seven.
Canteranos around the world. This season, there are 182 players trained in Valdebebas in professional championships: 58 in the First Division, 52 in the Second Division and 72 abroad. In 2016, the total number was 142, according to Real Madrid.
In 2021-22, taking all the Spanish Primera as a reference, the team prior to its debut in the top flight had been Castilla in 28 cases, Barcelona B in 19, and Athletic B in 17.
Raúl seeks his promotion to Second
Under the banner of Raúl González at the head of the bench, Castilla seeks promotion to Segunda, which made the club retain some of its best pieces. For example, the midfielder Arribas and the center back Rafa Marín (20 years old). Now he is third in the First Federation, two points behind the leader (Alcorcón). Just upload a team directly; the rest, to play off. Of the last 23 seasons, he has only been in the Second Division in four, in two blocks of two courses: 2005-07 and 2012-14.
The great success of the quarry in recent times was the conquest of the 2020 Youth League (the Champions of the lower categories), with Raúl as coach. On the other hand, in its pyramid, the club has approved the recovery of Madrid C, suppressed seven years ago, to shorten the passage of Juvenil A (now led by Álvaro Arbeloa) to Castilla.
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