Martin Odegaard has been dealt a humiliating blow by Rafael Benitez, who found room for youngsters Marcos Llorente and Borja Mayoral in his squad to face Malmo on Wednesday night but omitted Real Madrid’s high-profile starlet.
Odegaard is eligible to play for Real Madrid in the Champions League, but Benitez appears to be unconvinced by the Norway international, who has endured a difficult start to life at the Bernabeu following his £2.3 million move from Stromsgodset in January.
The highly-rated 16-year-old has made just one first-team appearance for Los Blancos - in a 7-3 win over Getafe towards the end of last season - but Benitez’s decision to call-up both Llorente and Mayoral over the left-footed playmaker will leave more question marks over his future in the Spanish capital.
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As the Daily Mail correctly state, Odegaard currently finds himself in a state of footballing limbo - unable to feature in the UEFA Youth League because he doesn’t train with the club’s Under-19s, but not yet ready - at least in the eyes of Benitez - to line up for Real Madrid’s senior side.
Odegaard has spent the majority of his time playing with Real Madrid Castilla, under the management of Zinedine Zidane, since arriving in Madrid - but had hoped to cement his status as a rotation option in the first team by now, despite his tender age.
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Odegaard made a bad choice joining Real Madrid
The teenager has already been used on six occasions by the Norway national team, but risks his career stagnating by not playing competitive first-team football.
A loan move was mooted before the transfer window closed; however, a temporary move to another club failed to materialise for the gifted attacking midfielder.
While there’s no doubt that Odegaard possesses immense talent, his physical frame and decision-making skills aren’t yet developed enough to force his way into a team containing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Isco, James Rodriguez and other household names.
Joining Real Madrid this early in his career could backfire on the youngster.
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