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The most profitable club academies in world football

Which clubs in world football make the most money from their academies? We’ve ranked the teams who have brought in the highest revenue from selling homegrown products across the last decade.

The most profitable club academies in world football:

5. Chelsea – £297m

Chelsea’s academy base at Cobham has been a hotbed for talent across the last decade, with the west Londoners winning five FA Youth Cups and two UEFA Youth League titles since 2013/14.

Only Manchester United (11) have now won more FA Youth Cup titles than Chelsea (9), who have brought in £297m from the sale of academy players.

Marc Guehi (£18m), Fikayo Tomori (£25m) and Tammy Abraham are among the names to have moved on for significant sums in search of regular first-team football, while Chelsea set a new record for an academy sale with the £55m departure of Mason Mount to Manchester United last summer.

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The Blues could rise up this list in the near future, with Conor Gallagher, Trevoh Chalobah and Armando Broja all linked with exits from Stamford Bridge.

4. Real Madrid – £309m

Real Madrid are the first team on this list to have surpassed £300m from the sale of academy graduates since 2014.

Only the very best make it from the academy system into the first-team of the Spanish giants, though many forge hugely successful careers after leaving the Bernabeu.

Achraf Hakimi has emerged as one of Europe’s top full-backs since struggling to make the grade with Los Blancos, while Sergio Reguilon (£27m) and Alvaro Morata (£60m) were sold on to the Premier League for large fees.

3. Lyon – £315m

It’s a testament to Lyon’s expertise in developing young talent that seven of the club’s 10 most expensive sales were graduates of the academy set-up.

Tanguy Ndombele (£55m) and Alexandre Lacazette (£47.5m) are the record sales of the French side, having moved to north London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal respectively after impressing at the Groupama Stadium.

Lyon brought in around €60m (£51.3m) from the sales of academy starlets Malo Gusto (Chelsea) and Castello Lukeba (RB Leipzig) last summer.

2. Ajax – £332m

Ajax are one of Europe’s great talent factories and have regularly unearthed gems before selling them on for large profit in recent seasons.

The Dutch side’s impressive run to the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League semi-finals saw their talented side picked apart by Europe’s elite, with homegrown gems Matthijs de Ligt (£75m) and Frenkie De Jong (£75m) snapped up by Juventus and Barcelona.

Last summer, Arsenal raided the Eredivisie outfit to sign Jurrien Timber in a £34m deal.

1. Benfica – £442m

Benfica are out in front as the most profitable academy in world football having earned a whopping £442m million from the sale of Lisbon-produced players.

Benfica have brought in over €1 billion (£840m) in total transfer sales since the turn of the century, becoming a money-making machine.

Joao Felix became the fourth-most expensive player ever and second-highest academy sale of any side when he completed a £113m move to Atletico Madrid in 2019, following a meteoric rise with Benfica.

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Ruben Dias (£64m to Manchester City), Renato Sanches (£30m to Bayern Munich) and Goncalo Ramos (£68m to Paris Saint-Germain) have also made big contributions to Benfica’s record windfall.

Joao Neves and Antonio Silva could be next off the production line, with Europe’s top clubs keeping a close eye on their development in the Portuguese capital.

Read – Ranking the most profitable Premier League academies

See more – Five of the best chips in Champions League history

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