With Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune often regarded as the best homegrown player in South Africa, here are the best homegrown international football stars!
Click through the gallery above to see the top 10 homegrown stars in the game, according to ESPN.
Khune initially started out as a defender at trials with Amakhosi, but was later converted to a goalkeeper. He came through the ranks at Chiefs and was promoted to the first team in 2004, but only made his PSL debut in 2007. However, he has not looked back since, playing more than 250 games for the Soweto giants to date.
On the international front, not many players stay with their youth clubs these days. The likes of Francesco Totti and Ryan Giggs seem to be part of a dying generation, but there are still some other high-class examples around.
ESPN have ranked the top 10 based on the opinions of their editorial team, awith Lionel Messi at the summit. The Argentine famously joined FC Barcelona at the age of 13, with his first contract being signed on a paper napkin, and went through its famed academy La Masia before breaking almost every club record at senior level.
To date, Messi has made 718 senior appearances for the Blaugrana, scoring 627 goals along the way. He is regarded as homegrown in Spain and could even have represented the European nation at international level but decided to run out for his country of birth, Argentina.
Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller follows in second place, having made 521 appearances for the German giants after also representing them at youth and reserve level. Muller recently signed a new deal until June 2023, and it seems likely he will retire at the Bavarian club.
Despite his relatively young age, Trent Alexander-Arnold completes the podium – you find the complete top 10, which includes stars from Manchester United, Arsenal and FC Barcelona, in the gallery above!
Who do you think is the best homegrown star in football? Have your say in the comments section below.