Carlo Ancelotti gave Martin Odegaard his Real Madrid debut on the final day of the 2014/15 season, bringing him on in place of Cristiano Ronaldo against Getafe. At 16 years and 156 days old, he became the youngest debutant in the club’s history; now, note Diario AS, the pair are reunited, and things are different for both.
Six years have passed and a lot of water has ran under the bridge. Odegaard is returning to the Santiago Bernabeu after a six-month loan spell at Arsenal, and will have landed in the Spanish capital with the intention of forcing his way into the starting XI. The Norwegian playmaker has actually spent the last four-and-a-half years on various loan spells, a route that took in Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad as well as Arsenal.
Odegaard spent the first half of last season back at Madrid, but clocked just 368 minutes across nine games. Madrid, as a club, have always maintained that Odegaard wouldn’t be made available for sale; they see him as an asset for the present as well as the future, the heir to Luka Modric at the heart of midfield.
Odegaard didn’t see eye-to-eye with Zinedine Zidane, but in Ancelotti he finds a coach who earns his bread in getting the best out of elite footballers. Both Modric and Toni Kroos played too much football last season, and need relief. Now, Odegaard has to show that he’s capable of finally making it at Madrid.