The big goal: Ambitions to become soccer stars, August 13

13 Aug 2014

Lots of youngsters have ambitions to become soccer stars. This is also true in China, where the Evergrande International Football School in Qingyuan, near Guangzhou, aims to train a generation of young athletes to establish the nation as a soccer powerhouse. The academy, set up in 2012 by Xu Jiayin, a property tycoon who owns AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande, is said to be the largest in the world. The sprawling 67-hectare campus, with its European-style buildings, boasts more than 50 pitches and can accommodate as many as 2,400 aspiring stars. These pictures from Getty Images show the students going through their paces both on the field and in the classroom, where they receive a regular academic education. A squad of Spanish coaches was brought over through a partnership with Real Madrid to teach the skills the students really want to learn.