The Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande has since 2018 converted a rural area of 300acres to the world largest football academy now breeding about 2500 students in a 50 pitches cost about £130 million for a future target of raising a future generation of champions.
But Guangzhou Evergrande are also spending significant amounts on developing youth – and are possibly China’s best hope of ever being a success on the world stage.
The free-spending Chinese Super League club boasts one of the most staggering football facilities in the world, they are prepared to splash the cash on some of world football’s most lucrative contracts.
The end goal is to help China win the World Cup. Pretty ambitious, considering their current world ranking of 65th (up nearly 30 spots in two years), but still behind nations like the Cape Verde Islands, Bolivia and Albania.
Staff, students and guests receive a daily remainder of what the academy is all about, as they pass a 40-foot tall replica of the World Cup trophy outside the front gates.
Such was the nation’s ambition to improve their chances, the Guangzhou academy was turned from rural land into the world’s biggest football school in just 10 months.
However, Guangzhou know it is not just facilities that they need to make world-beating footballers – they need the right coaching, too.