Former Real Madrid boss explains why Martin Odegaard struggled at the Santiago Bernabeu

Former Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari has detailed why it was not straightforward for Martin Odegaard in the Spanish capital.

Odegaard joined Real Madrid as a teenager and was tipped to be the next best thing as far as midfielders go.

But while the Norwegian has indeed developed into a fine player, he is yet to set the world alight, and that’s why Real Madrid were content to allow him to leave this summer.

Odegaard returned to Arsenal on a permanent deal ahead of last month’s transfer deadline having spent time there on loan last season.

And that has left many people wondering what went wrong for the now 22-year-old at the Santiago Bernabeu?

Former Los Blancos boss Solari, who managed to club between 2018 and 2019 has given some insight, telling The Pure Football Podcast via Marca: “Odegaard arrived at Madrid very young, at 15 or 16.

“It was difficult for him because he wanted to train with the first team, something no one his age was doing.

“He was a talent, of course, but at times it is easier for them to start with boys of their age than with the first team.

“You learn different things because you are with the first team and you learn from the best, but many times, he had to play with Castilla. And this was complicated because he didn’t train with those players all of the time.”

Speaking about Odegaard’s development as a player over recent years, Solari added: “He has grown as a footballer, as a person. It was not easy at Real Madrid at the start, he showed character.

“There were a lot of expectations around him. That type of pressure was there from the start. He has spoken of it and I have loved how he has grown so much, first going to Real Sociedad, then returning and playing for Arsenal.

“I hope that he will be happy. He has dedicated a lot more time than other players, and if he learned one thing that I tried to teach him, it is good for him and I am happy with it.”

Tags Arsenal Martin Odegaard Real Madrid Santiago Solari


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