Inside Valencia

Sky Sports News' David Garrido explores Valencia's famous academy and witnesses the changes they're making from the bottom to help rebuild a club battling with financial ruin...

Valencia turn to youth

Go Valencia: The club is hoping its youth system can help bring back the success of the early 2000's

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Valencia's academy is tucked away to the north of the city, and the club are beavering away as they try to bring about a silent revolution away from prying eyes.

The current strategy is to bring back old stars as inspiration for the new talent coming through, and it's already working. Ruben Baraja, who won two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, one UEFA Cup and one UEFA Super Cup as a player with Valencia, is now back coaching their 'Juvenil A' side - the academy's top team.

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Not only do they lead their division, but they're unbeaten, and they've won all their matches at home without even conceding. That's quite some impact.

Other former players involved at the academy include Nico Estevez, Miguel Angel Angulo, Curro Torres and Joachim Bjorklund. The former Rangers and Sunderland defender works for the club as a part-time scout, and his sons William and Kalle, 11 and 14 respectively, play at the academy too.

Valencia academy stars

  • Isco - Joined Real Madrid from Malaga for 30million Euros in 2013
  • Pablo Hernandez - Now at Swansea City
  • David Silva - Joined Manchester City in 2010
  • Jordi Alba - At Barcelona where he first started his career
  • Raul Albiol - Joined Napoli this summer from Real Madrid

"The new project looks good - more coaches, better coaches, more teams. From what I've seen so far, it's definitely a step in the right direction," Bjorklund told me.

The numbers are impressive too - from age 4 to 18, there are 40 teams in total, playing 8-a-side football to start off with before moving up to 11-a-side later on.

At present there are 594 kids in the academy, 36 of them are residents, and Valencia have plans to refurbish and expand the current campus.

The man who has been overseeing things is Francisco Rufete, who also won trophies on domestic and European fronts.

The trick, he says, isn't just about bringing back the heroes from the early 2000s, but also fostering a community spirit at all levels: "I think Valencia won its big titles and reached its main goals because we were a team that didn't attract attention at the beginning, and then gradually built ourselves up from that starting point of humility and respect."

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The photographs of those successful squads hang on the wall of the academy's cafeteria, almost to serve as a reminder that the good times weren't so long ago.

With plenty of enthusiasm and experience, it might not be too long until they return to Valencia.