It’s almost hard to believe that Martin Odegaard is still just 24 years of age. When he signed for Real Madrid at 16, there was great expectations placed upon the young shoulders of the Norwegian teenager.
However, those expectations fell short, as he departed the club on a permanent basis for Premier League giants Arsenal in 2021, after just eight La Liga appearances and half as many loan spells.
In an interview with The Players’ Tribune, Odegaard detailed his reasons for opting for Los Blancos in 2015.
“They were the Champions League champions with the best players in the world. Back then, I loved Isco, he was so soft on the ball. The really key thing about Madrid’s offer was that they had a B team where they could play competitive football right away. And the coach of that team? Zinedine Zidane”.
However, his time in the Spanish capital was underwhelming, and he admitted that the media played a part in his unsuccessful spell at Real Madrid.
“The press persecuted me for not immediately living up to expectations. I was an easy target. If you really know me, you know I smile a lot, but I think from the outside sometimes my face looks more grumpy than I really am. Maybe if I had been Spanish, they would have given me a little more time to grow up.
“I was more worried about not making mistakes than really playing my game. My game was always about making a difference and playing the difficult pass. I can understand why it happened now. I was still a little kid, but I’ve learned that you have to be ruthless. You have to not give a f***. You have to show the real you on the pitch.”
Despite his poor spell at Real Madrid, Odegaard now looks to be fulfilling his potential at Arsenal, where he is club captain.
Miss James, miss Odegaard.
Pure offensive playmakers were never Zidanes cup of tea.
They are a joy to watch tho.