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Torres, Özil and Chiellini's journey to stardom

Fernando Torres, Mesut Özil and Giorgio Chiellini discuss the importance of international age-group competition ahead of the first season of the UEFA Youth League.

Torres, Özil and Chiellini's journey to stardom
Torres, Özil and Chiellini's journey to stardom ©UEFA.com

A new competition gets under way in the 2013/14 season, with the UEFA Youth League becoming the European governing body's first age-group competition at club level.

It follows on from the decades of success of UEFA youth national team tournaments, which nurtured players who became household names such as Germany and Real Madrid CF midfielder Mesut Özil. "The earlier you play internationally the more experience you get," he said. "I did that in the Under-19 and the Under-21 teams. They were great times."

Italy centre-back Giorgio Chiellini is another who has benefited, saying: "I still remember all the tournaments, all the different events I played, which might not be very well known around the world ... but you learn a lot. You can already see the star players of tomorrow."

Watch others, including Xavi Hernández, Fernando Torres, Sami Khedira and UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina, talk about the value of youth competitions in the video above.