In January 2015 Martin Odegaard was invited and given rounds of some of the greatest European clubs, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Celtic as one of the hottest young prospects deliberated his first big move from Stromgodset in order to continue his football education.
And after the end of an unprecedented tour of who’s who of European clubs, he decided to sign for Real Madrid.
At the time he was only 16 but had already made his senior debut for the Norway national team, and the scouts at major clubs were well aware of the talents he possessed as they chased his signature.
The youngster, who plies his trade as an attacking midfielder, was never expected to slot into the Real Madrid first team, considering the number of expensively acquired players ahead of him that played his exact position. Primarily, there was Isco to contend with as well as Colombia international James Rodriguez, who signed for Los Blancos after a successful 2014 World Cup campaign.
In the prevailing circumstances, he slotted into the Real Madrid Castilla, which was under the management of club legend Zinedine Zidane at the time, and went on to make his official debut for the reserve side in a 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao B on 8th February.
Then first team boss Carlo Ancelotti named him on the substitutes’ bench in 3-0 league win over Almeria, but the youngster wasn’t called upon. However, Odegaard finally made his senior league debut for Real Madrid when he came on as a 58th minute substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo in the final league game of the 2014/15 season against Getafe.
In the process Odegaard became the youngest debutant in the history of Real Madrid at just 16 years and 157 days.
The youngster is an attacking midfielder capable of threading passes from a number 10 position for the strikers to run on to. He is quick-footed and possesses a lethal shot. Odegaard has earned comparisons with Barcelona maestro Lionel Messi and David Silva for his playing style, but it is still too early to say how he will develop before he takes the next step in his very young career.
Future at Real Madrid
Last summer, there were rumours of Odegaard not being happy with his role being limited to Real Madrid Castilla as he was hoping for regular first team action. Loan moves to several La Liga clubs as well as to Celtic, managed by his former Stromgodset boss Ronny Deila, were mooted but ultimately nothing came to fruition.
He has gone on to make a pivotal contribution to Real Madrid Castilla this season, having contributed four assists from 31 games to their cause as the reserve team push for promotion to the second division – they currently sit second behind Barakaldo.
Prospects with the national team
Odegaard’s senior national team debut came on 19th August 2014 against the United Arab Emirates. At just 15 years of age, he holds the record for being the youngest debutante for Norway.
He has since gone on to feature in eight more games for his country and is likely to serve them for a very long time to come.