'La Fábrica' (English: "The Factory") is the name given to Real Madrid C.F.'s youth academy and player farm system or "cantera". It is a world class youth academy that has contributed to Real Madrid's sporting success throughout its long history. For instance, in the 1980s Real Madrid won 5 consecutive La Liga titles, 2 consecutive UEFA Europa Leagues (then known as the UEFA Cup), and reached 3 consecutive UEFA Champions League (then known as the European Cup) semi-finals with a squad composed mostly of players formed at La Fábrica. This batch of "homegrown" Real Madrid players included Emilio Butragueño, Chendo, Manolo Sanchís, Ricardo Gallego, Míchel, Sebastián Losada, Miguel Pardeza and Rafael Martín Vázquez.
La Fábrica is housed in Ciudad Real Madrid (Real Madrid City), Real Madrid's new training facilities located just outside Madrid in Valdebebas. Inaugurated in 2005 after Real Madrid invested €100 million to develop it, Ciudad Real Madrid serves as the training ground for all teams and associated with the club, from the fully professional first-team squad, to the under-8 Prebenjamín youth team.
In 1942 AD Plus Ultra, a local Madrid club then in the Spanish Third Division, agreed to become Real Madrid's feeder club in return for financial support. In 1972 AD Plus Ultra became Real's official reserve team, known today as Real Madrid Castilla. RM Castilla is the most successful reserve side in the history of Spanish football, having amassed more points in the Spanish Second Division than any other reserve side. In 1980 RM Castilla even reached the final of the Copa del Rey, Spain's premier domestic cup competition, where curiously they lost the title to Real Madrid's first team squad.
Similarly, in the 1950s, Real Madrid Aficionados (English: Real Madrid Amateurs) was formed as an amateur competitive team affiliated with Real Madrid. The club eventually became Real Madrid C, and today serves as Real's second reserve team, after RM Castilla.
The youth academy system itself was established and developed in the 1950s by former Real Madrid Aficionados player Miguel Malbo under the tutelage of the then Real Madrid President, Santiago Bernabéu Yeste. Malbo went on to serve as Director of La Fábrica for over 50 years. Isidoro San José, former Real Madrid player, La Fábrica alumnus, and Deputy Director at La Fábrica said of Malbo's legacy at Real Madrid: "In his day, he was one of the people that contributed most to Real Madrid, and to Madrid's cantera." 
Since its beginnings in the 1950s, countless players have progressed through the ranks of La Fábrica's youth academy, and some of these graduates have contributed to Real Madrid's formidable sporting success both domestically and internationally. Some particuarlly successful periods are especially noteworthy. Between 1955 and 1965, Real Madrid won 8 La Liga titles, 1 Copa del Rey, and 6 UEFA Champions Leagues; a number of La Fábrica graduates contributed to Real's success in these years, including Pedro Casado, Enrique Mateos, Gregorio Benito, Juan Santisteban, Manuel Velázquez, Ramón Grosso, Fernando Serena and Ramón Marsal.
Moreover, as noted above, in the 1980s Real Madrid won 5 consecutive La Liga titles, 2 consecutive UEFA Europa Leagues (then known as the UEFA Cup), and reached 3 consecutive UEFA Champions League (then known as the European Cup) semi-finals with a squad composed mostly of players formed at La Fábrica. This fabulous batch of "homegrown" Real Madrid players included Emilio Butragueño, Chendo, Manolo Sanchís, Ricardo Gallego, Míchel, Sebastián Losada, Miguel Pardeza and Rafael Martín Vázquez.
Real Madrid Castilla and Real Madrid C are fully professional teams; all other teams at La Fábrica are youth teams including everything from under-19-year-olds to under-8-year-olds. Each youth team competes in a league of its own. Youth players must aspire to progress through the ranks if they wish to eventually debut in Real's first-team squad. La Fábrica has more than 270 youth players spread across all 12 youth teams.
|Real Madrid Castilla||–||Zinedine Zidane1||Santiago Sánchez
|Segunda División B (Gr. 2)|
|Real Madrid C||–||José Aurelio Gay||Sebastián Parrilla||Tercera División (Gr. 7)|
|Juvenil A||16-18||Luis Miguel Ramis||José Manuel Gil||División de Honor (Gr. 5)|
|Juvenil B||16-18||Rubén de la Red||Joaquín Sánchez||Liga Nacional (Gr. 12)|
|Juvenil C||16-18||Tristán Celador||Juan José Vallina||Primera División Autonómica (Gr. 1)|
|Cadete A||14–15||Santiago Solari||Alberto Garrido||Primera División Autonómica (Gr. 1)|
|Cadete B||14–15||Pedro Sánchez||Carlos del Rey||Primera División Autonómica (Gr. 2)|
|Infantil A||12–13||Roberto Rojas||Guti||División de Honor (Gr. 1)|
|Infantil B||12–13||David González||Javier Morán||División de Honor (Gr. 2)|
|Alevín A||10–11||José Lara||Santiago Expósito||Primera División Autonómica (Gr. 1)|
|Alevín B||10–11||Alejandro Dorado||Daniel Guindos||Primera División Autonómica (Gr. 2)|
|Benjamín A||8–9||Nacho Ferrer||Fernando Jiménez||Fútbol 7 (Gr. 28)|
|Benjamín B||8–9||Abián Perdomo||Jesús Bargueiras||Fútbol 7 (Gr. 29)|
|Prebenjamín||6–7||Víctor Carvajal||Jaime Torcal||Fútbol 7 (Gr. 22)|
- 1 Sánchez is the manager on paper since Zidane doesn't hold the necessary coaching certificate.
Below is a sortable list of notable La Fábrica alumni throughout history. The information listed below is current as of the 2012-2013 football season. Unless explicitly cited, all of the following information was obtained through the Wikipedia pages corresponding to the respective players.
- http://www.historiadeldeporte.es/pages/equipos/quinta.php. Missing or empty
- http://www.yptusa.com/rmadrid_valdebebas. Missing or empty
- "Circular #1: Edades jugadores". Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- Marco Ruiz (26 June 2014). "Zinedine Zidane será el nuevo entrenador del filial blanco". as.com (in Spanish). Diario AS. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
- Álvaro de la Rosa (12 June 2013). "A Zinedine Zidane le falta una asignatura para ser entrenador". as.com (in Spanish). Diario AS. Retrieved 2 September 2014.