Not so long ago, Martin Odegaard found himself on the scrapheap alongside the likes of Freddy Adu, Kerlon and Gael Kakuta. Signed by Real Madrid as a prodigious teenager, the Norwegian was barely given a chance at the Santiago Bernabeu before he was written off. How such hastiness now looks foolish.
On loan from the capital at Real Sociedad, Odegaard has arguably been the best player in La Liga over the first few weeks of the season. The Norwegian, now 20 years old, has scored twice and has contributed one assist in six appearances for the Basque side, but those numbers don’t quite do justice to the impact he has made.
There was one particular moment in Real Sociedad’s 3-0 win over Alaves on Thursday night that illustrated the level at which Odegaard is playing right now. The Norwegian picked up the ball, beat two players and then threaded through a pass few would have seen let alone make for Mikel Oyarzabal to finish.
Odegaard is playing so well that some have already speculated whether he could be recalled early by Real Madrid. The Norwegian is on loan for the next two years at the Anoeta, but with Zinedine Zidane short of options in midfield he is surely already thinking about how he could use the 20-year-old in his own team.
“At the end of last season, I felt like it would be best for me not to return to Madrid,” Odegaard explained in an interview given just a few weeks ago. “At Madrid, there are lots of big-name players and there is a lot of competition. It was obvious that it was better for me to ask for a new loan, which I think the club also accepted. That’s why we decided so soon.”
Real Madrid’s signing of Odegaard all those years ago finally looks to be paying off, but they have yet to gain any benefit themselves. Instead it’s Real Sociedad, who sit just one point adrift of Real Sociedad at the top of La Liga, who are getting the best from the Norwegian as he matures into the superstar he always promised to be.
The discussion now being had at the Santiago Bernabeu is surely now focused on whether it would be better to keep Odegaard out on loan at Real Sociedad for the full duration of his loan spell or to recall him and start integrating him into the Real Madrid first team. If he continues playing in this manner, the decision might be made for them.
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