5 of the Best From Schalke 04's Endless Carousel of Successful Youth Players

Schalke 04 and its famous Knappenschmiede has produced some of the world's finest players in recent years with no sign of the carousel of talent ending any time soon. 

Here are a closer look at five of the best from recent times.

1. Manuel Neuer

A well-known figure throughout the world of football, the Bayern number one has been regarded as one of the very best goalkeepers of the past five years. 

However, while he known for his time with Bayern and the German national team, 31-year-old Neuer's career began at Schalke. He is a true product of the youth academy and came through every age group at his hometown club.

In 2011, Neuer made the move to Bayern, where he has since has won six Bundesliga titles as well as the World Cup with the national side in 2014.

2. Mesut Ozil

Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil has been a household name for many years now, but he too made his name in Schalke's youth system before leaving in 2005. 

Ozil showed Europe that he was a top class player in the making at Schalke, before moving to Werder Bremen where he picked up his first silverware. 

Moves to Real Madrid and Arsenal soon followed, with a World Cup winners medal collected along the way.

3. Julian Draxler

Paris Saint-Germain forward Draxler joined Schalke's youth team in 2001 and made his debut as a 17-year-old in 2011, playing 119 Bundesliga games and scoring 18 goals. 

The midfielder was linked to Arsenal throughout his time at Schalke, but moved to Wolfsburg in 2015. 

Like several others on this list, he has a World Cup medal to his name and remains a regular in the international set up today. 

4. Leroy Sané

Beginning his career at the famous Knappenschmiede in Gelsenkirchen, many are unaware that the former Royal Blue moved from the Schalke youth team to Bayer Leverkusen youth academy in 2008. 

However, in 2011, the winger returned to the Schalke's youth set up and began his ascent to the first team. 

After a £37m move in the summer of 2016, Sané is now rapidly becoming a key man for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City with six goals in the Premier League already this season.

5. Leon Goretzka

Beginning his youth career at Bochum, Goretzka became a Royal Blue in 2013, where he remains today.

Goretzka is held in high regard all around Europe, but none more so then his former Bochum manager Peter Neururer, who once described the midfielder as a "once-in-a-century talent".

Since the Confederations Cup this summer, Gortezka has been in irresistible form for club and country, with a big money move rumoured to be on the way as Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Barcelona all continue to be linked. 

The question remains of whether Goretzka can live up to the expectations set by those before him.