Martin Odegaard’s move to Real Madrid hasn’t worked out as well as he probably hoped it would back in January 2015.
The talented Norway international, still just 17 years old, had his sights set on walking into the Bernabeu and establishing his status as a first-team regular almost immediately.
Los Blancos officials agreed he would be allowed to train with the first team, with a view to becoming a regular member of the senior side, only for Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez and then Zinedine Zidane to all decide he simply wasn’t ready yet.
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Odegaard agreed to sign for Real Madrid over the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona on the understanding of there being a clear route to the first team; however, the left-footed playmaker has only made one competitive appearance for the senior side.
That was on the final day of the 2014-15 campaign against Getafe, when he entered the fray as a 58th-minute substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ancelotti didn't want to play Odegaard
A year later, a long time after he’d left the Bernabeu, Ancelotti admitted he was forced to play the Norwegian in that La Liga fixture.
“When Florentino buys a Norwegian footballer, you simply have to accept it,” Ancelotti was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “Furthermore, the president decided that he would play three games with the first team as a public relations exercise.
“He could be the best player in the world, but I don't care because he was not a player who I asked for,” the new Bayern Munich head coach added. “That signing was to do with PR.”
Odegaard set to join Rennes
Having been told he doesn’t feature in Zidane’s plans this season, Real Madrid have worked hard to organise a loan deal for the teenager.
Clubs in both Spain and England have been linked with Odegaard in recent weeks, but it’s French outfit Rennes who appear to have won the race for his signature.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, a season-long loan agreement could be announced by the end of today (Tuesday).
Gourcuff excited by potential Odegaard arrival
"He can have an immediate technical input," Christian Gourcuff is quoted as saying by respected French publication L'Équipe, adding that Rennes would be getting "a player of a high level".
"It's beneficial for all three parties [involved in the loan]," Gourcuff added. "Madrid want the player to develop, the player doesn't want to go to just any club and we have an opportunity that we're going to make the most of."
Given the fact Ligue 1 is a league renowned for its physicality, Zidane will be hoping that a season in France will help toughen Odegaard up before he returns to Madrid next summer.
Will Martin Odegaard become a top player - or is he overrated? Have your say by leaving a comment below.