Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard has revealed the reason behind his decision to move to the Santiago Bernabeu, stating his belief that his future will be best served in the Spanish capital, which is why he rejected overtures from Manchester United and Liverpool.
The Norwegian wonderkid was linked with a host of top European clubs after confirming his plans to quit hometown club Stromsgodset at the start of the year, but opted for Los Blancos ahead of all his other suitors.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal was keen to bring the 16-year-old to Old Trafford, while Brendan Rodgers arranged for Odegaard to visit Anfield and take a tour of the Reds' Melwood training complex in an attempt to convince him to make the switch to Merseyside.
However, despite the Premier League giants' best efforts, the talented teenager was won over by the prospect of joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. in La Liga, penning a long-term contract with Real Madrid in the January transfer window.
Odegaard made his highly-anticipated first-team debut in Sunday's 7-3 victory over Getafe after Carlo Ancelotti handed the Scandinavian a surprise call-up to his senior squad in what proved to be one of his last actions as manager.
In doing so the burgeoning star became Real Madrid's youngest ever Liga debutant, beating Sebastian Losada's 31-year record by 214 days after replacing Ronaldo as a second-half substitute at just 16 years and 157 days old.
Asked what it was like to make his first appearance in for the Galacticos, Odegaard admitted it was a dream come true in an interview with the club's Real Madrid TV channel.
"It's a very special day for me and I'm very happy and proud," he was quoted saying by the Daily Mirror. "Of course it was very special to play in front of so many people. I tried to enjoy the moment and I did, so it was very good."
And, when pressed for an explanation about the motivation that brought him to Madrid, Odegaard said something that is sure to frustrate both Manchester United and Liverpool supporters, given how close both clubs allegedly came to securing his signature.
"Why did I sign for Real Madrid? The reason is that it's the best possibility to develop myself," he added. "I felt it was like the best option, the way I could develop myself in the best way, both from a sports point of view and in my personal life. So it had the best possibilities for me.
"They took me wonderfully and I felt at home. I think that's the best option for me. It's a dream come true, it's unbelievable and it's incredible that I am ready for the best club in the world. It's an honour."
Some supporters might challenge Odegaard's statement when you consider Van Gaal's proven track record of nurturing and developing young talent, whilst Rodgers is not opposed to promoting young players and providing a clear pathway to his first-team.
However, the youngster made his decision and will now be hoping to prove any detractors wrong by pushing on and trying to break into the senior fold at Real Madrid on a more regular basis next season.
Real Madrid fans: Do you think Martin Odegaard is ready to make the step up to the first-team at the Bernabeu? Was he right choosing Los Blancos ahead of his Premier League suitors? Have your say below...
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