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AC Milan: The Dark Horse of Academies

We take a look in at AC Milan's youth system.

Franco Baresi, a Milan graudate, in all his glory!
Franco Baresi, a Milan graudate, in all his glory!
David Cannon/Getty Images

When elite youth academies are discussed, you'd typically see the talk revolve around that of Ajax, Sporting Lisbon, Schalke, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and a few more notable clubs. Unfortunately, not many people today recognize the true dark horse that Milan's youth academy is. The Rossoneri's youth setup saw the development and graduation of arguably two of the top five greatest centre backs of all time in Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi, with Alessandro Costacurta right behind them. Milan's academy also saw the production of Cristian Brocchi and Demetrio Albertini, two dynamic midfielders that aided Italy to glory

Not much thought or consideration is given to the players Milan has produced as of recent, however, this could be because no one is aware that they were previous primavera players. A few notable names lie in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bryan Cristante, Riccardo Saponara, Matteo Darmian, Mattia De Sciglio, and Ignazio Abate.

Even among the dearth of suitable names that Milan have produced over the years, the real excitement lies in the future they have planned ahead of them. Overseen by newly promoted youth manager Stefano Nava. The headlining name of Gianluigi Donnarumma isn't the only future red and black star to grace the academy as of recent. An awe inspiring amount of potential lies in Davide Calabria, Hachim Mastour, Manuel Locatelli, Niccolo Zanellato, Ivan De Santis, Mattia El Hilali, and Alessandro Plizzari. It's probably safe to say that Milan's youth academy is not given the recognition it deserves. It's produced a few of the greatest players of all time, and has plenty of current graduates plying their trade around Europe. Coupled with the exciting future prospects that are fresh out of or still in the academy, the youth system at Milan will be one studied for years to come by other clubs.