Head of Real Madrid youth system hits out after quitting

By Mark Elkington

MADRID, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The head of Real Madrid's youth system criticised the way they looked after their youngsters after handing in his resignation.

Former Spain international Michel launched a scathing attack on president Ramon Calderon, who this week said Barcelona had been more successful at developing youth players.

"The president can criticise me but he doesn't know my work or what we do. He knows absolutely nothing about what goes on," Michel told radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday.

"(The club) don't give the youth team players the same opportunities they do to other young players who are bought in from outside."

Michel's outburst came on the day Real presented Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar as their new signing from Ajax Amsterdam for a fee of 20 million euros ($25.24 million), with a further seven million payable on variables.

Under Calderon the club has moved away from their policy of signing 'Galacticos' like Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham, focusing instead on bringing in youngsters such as Fernando Gago, Marcelo and Gonzalo Higuain.


Fans have been unhappy to see youth team players loaned out and in some cases sold, with few progressing to the first team.

Michel cited Valencia's Juan Mata, Almeria's Alvaro Negredo, Getafe's Esteban Granero and Liverpool's Alvaro Arbeloa as examples of players who had proved themselves away from the Bernabeu.

Calderon defended himself in an interview published on the club's website (www.realmadrid.com).

"I'm surprised at the way Michel has left. His direct boss is sports director Predrag Mijatovic and he will respond to this," he said.

"It is sad and I find his attitude frustrating because everyone says the Real Madrid youth system does not work. That said, seven of our first team players came from the youth ranks."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)