Because it feels like he’s been on the scene for years, it’s easy to forget that Martin Odegaard is still just 18 years old.
The Norwegian starlet, who joined Real Madrid from Stromsgodset in January 2015, has endured a difficult two-and-a-half years.
He must have thought this football lark would be easy after Madrid signed him at the age of 16, but it’s been anything but plain-sailing for the talented left-footed playmaker since.
Odegaard made his Madrid debut against Getafe on the final day of the 2014-15 season, coming on as a second-half substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Carlo Ancelotti, Madrid’s head coach at the time, would later describe the substitution as a “PR exercise”. In order words, he didn’t feel the teenager was ready for first-team football at the Bernabeu, even though he’d already been capped by Norway’s senior side.
Odegaard's Real Madrid spell has been tough
Zinedine Zidane also encountered issues with Odegaard while he was in charge of Real Madrid Castilla.
Odegaard felt he should have been training and playing with the first team when it was patently clear that he wasn’t ready.
He made his second appearance last season
Zidane’s opinion hadn’t changed by the time he replaced Rafael Benitez as Madrid’s head coach last year, although he did hand the youngster his second appearance for the club against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa Del Rey last November.
Then went to Heerenveen
Two months later and Odegaard was loaned out to Heerenveen, where he showed glimpses of his class but not enough to suggest he deserved a place in Madrid’s first team.
Video: Odegaard scores stunning free-kick
It’s likely that Odegaard will be loaned out again this season - although he’s given Zidane something to think about this evening by scoring a quite remarkable free-kick for Norway’s Under-21 side against Kosovo.
Watch it here…
What an absolute beauty of a free-kick that is.
Here’s how Twitter has reacted to Odegaard’s stunner…
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