Maxwell: The UEFA Youth League is a perfect mirror of the Champions League
Maxwell, head of football development at UEFA, hailed the impact of the Youth League just nine years after the competition’s inception.
The annual tournament, which in many ways resembles that of senior men’s competitions, has drawn large crowds and been treated as a showpiece for top European academies like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea.
Maxwell believes his impact has benefited European footballers, allowing hundreds to experience competition under pressure before continuing to do so in senior football.
What did Maxwell say?
“I think it’s the highest competition where you can play against the best teams and players in Europe,” Maxwell said. GOAL. “It’s a good opportunity to face different football clubs and coaches.
“The development process provides a great performance platform for players, coaches and even referees. We see competition having a huge impact on youth football.
“We see around 800 players go from there to the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League. There is a huge impact on the development of these young players.
“We had Deportivo against Dynamo Kyiv and there were 20,000 fans. It’s like a real competition for men.
“We see the players come out and shine under that pressure in the first team. It’s an opportunity and it’s the highest level of youth football.
“A lot of times you see from around 75 minutes that they have more cramps than in other competitions because of the difficulty of the games.
“We see the UEFA Youth League winners doing it in the Champions League and the Europa League with Mason Mount and Andreas Christensen doing it at Chelsea. There’s also Munir El Haddadi who won with Barcelona and then the Europa League with Sevilla. .
“This competition is a platform to develop players in the most competitive scenario and add value to them with educational programs. They compete against the best and it helps to develop for the professional level and compete at the highest level. .”
Why does Maxwell hold such a key role at UEFA?
Maxwell retired from football in 2017 with the most club trophies won by a professional player. That record has since been surpassed by Barcelona full-back Dani Alves, while at Paris Saint-Germain.
After retiring, Maxwell became assistant sporting director at PSG, which coincided with the most successful period in the club’s history.
Thanks to his role at PSG and after completing his UEFA Executive Masters Course for International Players (UEFA MIP), Maxwell secured his big role in European football’s governing body.
“I think ex-players should understand that life isn’t just about being a ‘former player’,” added the former left-back who speaks impressively English, French, Spanish, Italian. Italian and Portuguese.
“You have to work and educate yourself for life after. We have courses and preparations with UEFA having the best platform to educate former players.
“When you’ve lived football, it’s important to give back. I enjoyed that a lot, so it’s time for me to give back too.
“The opportunity I have to work with the Youth League is crucial. Not all players end up with elite careers, it’s an uncertain time.
“Everyone has the dream, the motivation and the ambition, but it’s still not certain that you will succeed. I think it’s a big responsibility for me and for UEFA to show that there is a future and that they can be educated and prepared in different ways.
“I have been in the world of football since I was five or six years old. I lived through a period of insecurity in Brazil and at the beginning in the Netherlands. Then I succeeded in different countries.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs but I know I can look back on my career with great happiness.”