Real Madrid and Ajax top rankings of clubs turning out players into first teams

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November 1 – There are more players progressing into first team squads in Europe’s top leagues from Real Madrid and Ajax than any other clubs in Europe. Real Madrid have trained 41 players now playing at Big-5 league clubs.

The data, gathered by the CIES Football Observatory, is based on the UEFA definition of a training club – a player has to have been employed by the club for three years between the ages of 15 and 21.

The CIES list “takes into account first team squad members having played in domestic league games until October 1st of the current season or in adult championships during each of the two previous ones.”

Real Madrid have taken over at the top of the 2016 table for players in Big-5 League clubs from Spanish rivals Barcelona who have 37 players in the ranking. Manchester Untied are the top Premier League team with 34 (ranked 3rd) and are followed by Lyon as the top Ligue1 club with 29.

The top Italian club is Roma with 24 players, ranked 7th in the list. Perhaps worryingly for Germany is that Bayern Munich are the highest ranked club from the Bundesliga but down in 20th position with 18 players.

Widening the criteria and looking at players in the first team squads across 31 European leagues, Ajax have taken over at the top of the table with 72 players from 2015 table topper Partizan Belgrade.

In this ranking Barcelona and Real Madrid are ranked 5th equally with 53 players. They top the Big 5 leage clubs.

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See the full ranking at

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