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Cantera, literally meaning "quarry" in Spanish, is a term used in Spain to refer to youth academies and farm teams organized by sports clubs. It is also used to refer to the geographical area that clubs recruit players from. The term is widely used in football but is also applied to other sports such as basketball. This article is about the football canteras. Notable canteras include those of Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid, RCD Espanyol and Sporting de Gijón.

The Basque Canteras

Athletic Bilbao

Since 1912 Athletic Bilbao have employed a cantera policy. One of the main beneficiaries of the policy has been the national team. Athletic has provided numerous players for it, second only to Real Madrid.

During the early 1920s the Basque Country was a breeding ground of great Spanish players. The influx of immigrants from all over Spain resulted in the region producing dozens of quality players. In 1920 Spain made their international debut and entered a team in the Olympic Games. Of the 21 players in the squad, 14 were Basques. Among them were Pichichi, José María Belauste, Txomin Acedo and Félix Sesúmaga.

Throughout their history Athletic Bilbao have continued to produce many notable Spanish players. Among them were Zarra, the all-time top goalscorer in La Liga, José Ángel Iribar, who made a record 466 La Liga appearances and was a member of the Spain team when they won the European Championship in 1964 and......
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