A CIES report shows that no other side in Europe's top five league uses as many homegrown players as often as Athletic do
The weekly report number 440 published by the prestigious Swiss research centre CIES Football Observatory shows that Athletic are the top club in the five major European leagues in terms of the number of homegrown footballers used and the minutes they have played so far in the 2023/24 season.
Athletic stand out at the top of this ranking with 14 home-grown footballers having featured in 68.9% of our total minutes played in LaLiga this campagin, an increase of 13% on last season's figure of 55.8%.
The Zurigorri are more than 23% ahead of second-placed Olympique Lyonnais (nine players and 45.6% of all minutes). The French outfit are then followed by Real Sociedad (12 players and 45.4% of all minutes), Real Madrid (eight players and 36.3% of all minutes), SC Freiburg (nine players and 34.5% of all minutes, Club Atlético Osasuna (seven players and 33.3% of all minutes), Valencia CF (11 players and 31.3% of all minutes) and Stade Rennais (six players and 30.6% of all minutes).
The CIES Football Observatory follows the UEFA criteria as to what constitutes a homegrown player, considering as such those who have played for a club's teams for at least three seasons between the ages of 15 and 21.
Therefore, the 14 squad members to have already featured in LaLiga 2023/24 who are included in this ranking are: Unai Simón, Dani Vivian, Aitor Paredes, Yeray, Imanol, Oihan Sancet, Ruiz de Galarreta, Beñat Prados, Unai Gómez, Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, Nico Williams, Gorka Guruzeta and Asier Villalibre. The minutes played by Peru Nolaskoain, Unai Egiluz and Julen Agirrezabala in the 2023/24 Copa do not count in this report.
It also leaves out others who, either because they initially came to the club and left before they turned 15 or because they played for affiliated clubs in that period, did not spend three full seasons at Athletic Club between the ages of 15 and 21
Therefore, some footballers who have turned out for Lezama's youth teams, such as Iñigo Lekue, Mikel Vesga, Yuri, Oscar de Marcos and Adu Ares, are not counted among the 14 taken into account for this report, as well as other who did not feature in LaLiga 2023/24 until 15/11/2023, the date on which the period analysed in the study concludes.