The excellent campaign by Real Sociedad in the 2019-2020 season put several players as great attractions of LaLiga, Martin Ødegaard among them. Being 21 years old, the Norwegian talent played his first complete season in Spain. He arose as Imanol Alguacil´s midfield boss along with Mikel Merino. As a consequence of his astonishing performance, in a year where the pandemic stopped the season halfway, Zinedine Zidane ordered Madrid to re-sign him despite there was still another season pending according to the loan agreement they reached the year before.
This way, Ødegaard became the only “sign” for Real Madrid this season. The Frenchman coach seemed to count on him as a key part of the midfield at first. However, he has only played 5 minutes since December and now he wants to exit the club to play more often. His evolution at Real Madrid has been characterized for the patience but, Why Ødegaard is unable to settle down at The Whites after proving his worth?
A record debut and four loans:
Martin Ødegaard arrived to Madrid when he was only 16 years old. He became the youngest player to make his debut in Real Madrid´s history on May 23rd 2015 thanks to Carlo Ancelotti. However, he returned to the reality after that achievement and continued his development at the second team. Two seasons later, his early jump to the elite punished him through a series of loans without opportunities in the first team. The player from Drammen headed to the Netherlands, where he spent three years: two at Heerenveen (2016/2017 y 2017/2018) and one at Vitesse (2018/2019).
His adventure in Netherlands allowed him to mature as a footballer. In fact, his excellent campaign at Vitesse could be considered as the turning point that ended on his return to Spain last season. However, his three years at the Eredivise made him to loose popularity; even more with other young talents failures like Alen Halilović´s, who could have been his “competitor” in 2015.
The best thing Real Madrid could have done is to loan him to Real Sociedad. The Norwegian adapted himself perfectly to Alguacil´s squad and to the Donostia´s atmosphere. His year at Real Sociedad was extraordinary (he values the Basque Country club a lot), as the stats reflect: 36 official games, seven goals and nine assists; apart from reaching the Spanish Cup final and seal the qualification to the Europa League.
Ødegaard already warned during last season: “I want to play in Europe next year”, he said. Moreover, if it was possible, he wanted to do so at Real Sociedad. It all seemed like he was going to stick by the two-year loan agreement and, this way, to his two goals. However, Zidane called him halfway August. Change of plans. The decision did not feel good in San Sebastián, and now it is less understandable. Another one.
Two injuries, no opportunities, the arise of the best midfield, the return to the 4-3-3 system… Martin Ødegaard has become the last name in the list. The 22 years old Norwegian wants to leave; he wants to play. He has top abilities: talent, shot, work, etc… If Real Madrid wants Ødegaard to succeed, he must go to a place where he can have minutes and, overall, feels valued.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.