The differences between the quarries of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona They can be compared based on temporal variables. One can talk, for example, about the 33 seconds it cost the last Barça debutant, Marc Guiu, making his debut as a scorer with the first team, last Sunday against Athletic. And we can also talk about the 10 years that have passed since a player from the current white squad was promoted from Castilla without serving in another club: it was Nacho Fernandeztoday captain.
But these very substantial differences can also be measured based on economic variables. In the last decade, Real Madrid has gained some 380 million euroswhile Barça has only obtained 150. There is a difference of 230 million euros, the equivalent (approximate) of what the whites have invested in sign Bellingham, Tchouaméni and Vinicius.
The Masia and The Factory
The Spanish football classic, which celebrates a new edition this Saturday (4:15 p.m.) in Montjuic, serves to contrast two different models of managing the quarry. He Barça makes the flag of La Masia and believes in it as a source of footballers for his first team. Real Madrid, on the other hand, conceives La Fábrica in a much less romantic way, as a performance factory, be it sporty or economical.
The composition of the current squads serves as an example. In Real Madrid there are four footballers with the category of youth players (three or more years of experience in the club’s lower categories). From them, only Nacho promoted directly from the subsidiarywith whom he played his last game more than 10 years ago, in May 2023.
The other three have had to go outside to earn a return to the Bernabéu. TO Carvajal (Leverkusen) now Lucas Vazquez (Espanyol) it took them one year to show that they had a place. Fran Garcia (Rayo) had to wait three courses. And then there is the case of Joseluwho left the white reserve team in 2012 after two years at the club (he is not strictly a youth player, therefore) and has returned to Madrid 11 years later, already a veteran.
This is a trend consolidated in recent years in Madrid. In the last four courses, Carvajal, Nacho and Lucas Vázquez have been the only youth players who have played more than a thousand minutes per season. And it does not seem that this year is going to be very different, based on the recent decisions of Ancelotti who has preferred to make short-term calls rather than call up Castilla boys, with the exception of the third goalkeeper.
Barça: between faith and need
The case of Barcelona is very different, partly out of conviction, partly out of necessity. Conjunctural need right now, since his short staff and his injuries It is forcing him into situations such as having only 12 first-team players available for Wednesday’s duel against Shakhtar. But also a structural necessity, in which its serious economic crisis forces it to have to rely on youth players due to its lack of resources to sign players.
This last factor explains that last season up to 14 youth players played some minutes and that the number reached 18 in the 21-22 season. This year, there are already 11: Balde, Gavi, Oriol Romeu, Lamine Yamal, Fermín, Sergi Roberto, Marc Guiu, Casadó, Ansu Fati, Abde and Eric García. The last three, yes, left the Barça discipline before September 1.
Based on qualitative data, Barça has had five seasons in which between six and seven youth players They finish the season with more than a thousand minutes played. A very stable figure that contrasts with the two or three who have been doing it in Madrid in the last four years.
It is clear, therefore, that Barça gets much more sports performance to the players that Real Madrid trains in its quarry. But the data also shows that the white club is much more efficient when it comes to getting money for the players it does not have.
As seen in the graph that accompanies these lines, of the 10 highest sales of youth players between the two teams in the last decade, eight correspond to real Madridincluding the five with the highest amount. And the two that correspond to Barça (Pedro and Thiago) were made seven and nine summers ago.
230 million difference
In this time, Madrid has obtained about 380 million euros for 24 players from their quarry those he did not have for his first team, while Barça has remained in 150 for the transfer of 20 of them. That’s without counting in either case the players who have left free. On average, according to data from Transfermarkt, the whites have earned more than double that of their eternal rival for each of their transferred youth players: 15.26 million compared to 7.53.
The volume of footballers raised in La Fábrica and La Masia means that both quarries are the most prolific in the world. This is demonstrated by a report published by the CIES Football Observatory this week, which states that in the clubs of the five major European leagues there are 44 youth players from Madrid and 40 from Barça. The two greats of Spanish football lead that ranking with a wide distance over the third on the list, Olympique Lyon (31).
The final conclusion is that both quarries work, but each one does it in their own way. And both Barcelona and Real Madrid seem happy with that being the case.