At the age of 17, arguably the most important thing for Martin Odegaard right now is a loan spell away from the Bernabeu.
Though it’s in Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s interests for Odegaard to become a sensation in the first-team, the Norwegian simply isn’t ready yet to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and the other Galacticos on a regular basis.
So a loan move to French outfit Rennes had been lined up; Zinedine Zidane was keen for the young attacker to gain experience and had identified Rennes as the ideal location having completed part of his coaching course in the French city.
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But Zidane will not get his wish after Rennes sporting director Mikael Silvestre said the move had broken down.
According to Silvestre, FIFA have told Madrid that they cannot loan players under the age of 18 out. With a potential transfer ban looming, the Spanish club aren’t willing to take a chance.
“Odegaard isn't coming this summer due to a question of age. He'll turn 18 in December,” Silvestre, who played for Manchester United and Arsenal, told RMC Radio, per the Daily Mail.
“Real Madrid don't want to take risks. They're still under the threat of a FIFA penalty, and are awaiting the outcome of an appeal. He can go on loan to another Spanish club, but won't come to Rennes.”
Madrid are clueless
According to Spanish outlet Sport, Madrid now have "no idea" what to do with the teenager. They add that his performances for Madrid's reserve team have been sub-standard and progress hasn't been detected.
The lack of first-team football has hurt Odegaard’s international opportunities; he has been left out of the Norway squad for their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Germany and their friendly against Belarus.
Norway manager Per-Mathias Hogmo will instead assess Odegaard’s performances for the Under-21.
“We selected the squad thinking about the game against Germany,” Hogmo said. “Martin can play two games with the under 21s and get some good training in there.
“Martin is a player we really believe in, I think everyone knows that. It will be interesting to see how this all works out.”
Odegaard was 16 when he signed for Madrid with a reputation as one of the best young talents in the game. Such was the hype surrounding the Norwegian that he trained with both the first-team and Real Madrid Castilla.
It quickly became apparent, though, that Odegaard wasn’t ready for the bright lights of the Bernabeu. He spent the entirety of last season playing for Castilla and will likely revert there again after his failed move to Rennes.