Martin Odegaard has knuckled down with Real Madrid Castilla over the past few months and is reaping the rewards for doing so.
The Norway international, who turns 18 next month, is still training with the first team but, crucially, he now appears to be enjoying his football playing competitive matches for the club’s youth side.
Odegaard was frustrated with his lack of opportunities last season but it seems he’s accepted that first-team football at the Bernabeu is still a little way off for him at this early stage in his career.
It’s now a year-and-a-half since Odegaard made his first-team debut for the Spanish giants - against Getafe at the end of the 2014-15 campaign, a move later described by Carlo Ancelotti as a “PR exercise” - and he’s not particularly close to securing a place in Zinedine Zidane’s starting line-up.
A temporary loan move away from the Bernabeu in January seems likely - Rennes attempted to sign the left-footed playmaker in the summer only for FIFA to block the move because players under the age of 18 being prohibited from joining foreign clubs - and perhaps that explains why Odegaard is shining at the moment.
Odegaard is producing eye-catching moments
Odegaard made headlines in October with a fabulous dribble, in which he slightly resembled both Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho, against Athletic B.
And now he’s scored a free-kick against SS Reyes which Spanish newspaper AS have compared to a goal scored by Cristiano Ronaldo against Bayern Munich in the Champions League a couple of years ago.
Like Ronaldo’s free-kick against Bayern, Odegaard utilised the unorthodox technique of hitting the ball low under the jumping wall.
The Norwegian’s free-kick, however, appeared to take a slight deflection en route to the back of the net.
Video: Odegaard’s free-kick v SS Reyes
Video: Ronaldo’s free-kick v Bayern Munich
There are definitely similarities between the two free-kicks and Real Madrid fans will be encouraged that Odegaard is improving from dead-ball situations.
Real Madrid Castilla still lost 2-1
Unfortunately for Odegaard, Real Madrid Castilla lost the match 2-1 and they now find themselves 8th in the Segunda Division B Group 2.
The 17-year-old was replaced in the 73rd minute by Zidane’s son, Enzo.
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