The child prodigy has grown up.
It took longer than many hoped for, but at the age of 21 Martin Odegaard finally arrived in the haze of top European football.
Hardly any youth footballer has received such praise laurels in the past as the Norwegian, who made his debut in the first Norwegian division at the age of 15 and even made his senior international debut at the same age.
Half of Europe was after the highly talented teenager before Real Madrid signed him shortly after his 16th birthday in early 2015.
But the hype seemed to inhibit the attacking midfielder. Although he became the youngest league player in Real’s club history, it remained with this one league game for the professionals, plus a stake in the cup. The rest of the time he played for the second representation of the royal.
Odegaard takes off in Arnhem
Two years after his commitment, the chapter Real was for the time being history again for Odegaard, he should collect game practice on loan in the Dutch Eredivisie. First he played at SC Heerenveen, in the 2018/19 season he then drew attention to himself at Vitesse Arnhem with eight goals and eleven assists.
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In the past season Odegaard returned to La Liga, was able to prove himself at Real Sociedad San Sebastián – and with success. He led the Basque to sixth place and thus in the Europa League. In 36 competitive games, the Norwegian scored seven times, prepared nine more goals and was the linchpin of the offensive.
He had a real highlight against Deportivo Alavés in September 2019. He tunneled an opponent to use a pass over 25 meters to undo the entire defense of the opponent and thus initiate the leadership of his team.
Of course, the Madrilenians want to see scenes like this very soon in their own dress from their child prodigy. According to the Spanish media, those responsible are impressed by the development of the technically-minded offensive player. According to as The Spanish champions recently even considered bringing the Norwegian back to Madrid earlier than planned.
Was will Odegaard?
Because Odegaard is supposed to stay with the Basques for another year. This is not yet fixed in the contract, but there should be an oral agreement. “It does not depend on us, but on him and Real Madrid, but we are hopeful that he can stay with us for another year,” said Sociedad President Jokin Aperribay Zero Wave.
For Real, Odegaard’s return could be one of the most important “transfers” for the coming season. The 21-year-old could become a face of change in real midfield. And it costs nothing. In the corona crisis, the royal also had to tighten their belts, especially when legacy issues such as James Rodríguez and Gareth Bale, both of which did not play a role under Zinedine Zidane, weighed on the budget.
But what does Odegaard want? It’s no secret that he sees himself in royal white in the long term. A few weeks ago, he expressed the goal of wanting to play with Sociedad in the Champions League next season. But with just two wins in eleven league games after the restart, the Basques gambled away this goal.
In Madrid, Ödegaard could prove itself at an international top level. However, with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Isco and Federico Valverde he currently has five competitors for a place in the middle of the three. At Real Sociedad, however, it would be set.
According to Basque newspaper the decision has already been made. Accordingly, Odegaard remains in the Basque Country for another year. There he should continue to put his stamp on the young Basque team around the ex-Dortmund Mikel Merino and Alexander Isak. And continue to mature from a child prodigy to an international top footballer.