It wasn’t long ago that Martin Odegaard’s future at Real Madrid seemed far from certain.
The Norway international, who still hasn’t turned 18 yet, was reportedly unhappy with his lack of first-team opportunities at the Bernabeu. His father wasn’t best pleased with the situation, either, having agreed to reject a host of top European clubs in order to sign for the Spanish giants.
Odegaard was struggling to shine with Real Madrid Castilla - did he think he was too good for Los Blancos’ youth side? - and had failed to convince Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and Zinedine Zidane that he was ready for senior football.
Ancelotti even admitted after he left Madrid that he only handed Odegaard his first-team debut at the end of the 2013-14 campaign because he was instructed to do so by Florentino Perez.
The experienced Italian coach described it as a “PR exercise”.
Odegaard hasn’t featured under Zidane this season, but the teenager does appear to have knuckled down in recent weeks.
He’s still regularly training with the first team and may have been told that he can leave the club on loan in the new year.
Odegaard was linked with a loan move to Rennes in the summer but FIFA rules stipulate that players under the age of 18 and not permitted to join any club in a foreign league.
Video: Odegaard's magnificent run v Athletic
The left-footed playmaker was in action for Castilla against Athletic Bilbao B on Saturday and produced one spellbinding run in which he beat four players.
Odegaard began the dribble from his own half, keeping the ball up Ronaldinho style and flicking the ball over an opponent’s head before bursting towards goal.
The Norwegian then squeezed between two more Athletic players - channeling his inner Lionel Messi, in the process - before getting a shot off on goal.
Unfortunately, the final shot was tame and the goalkeeper picked the ball up without any trouble at all.
But let’s take nothing away from the run; it was absolutely fantastic.
Will Martin Odegaard establish himself as a first-team regular at Real Madrid in the future? Have your say by leaving a comment below.