Norwegian teenage prodigy Martin Odegaard described his move to European champions Real Madrid as a “dream come true” as he was officially presented in the Spanish capital. Duration: 00:44
Madrid presents newly signed teen wizard Odegaard
Football: Madrid move a dream for teen wizard Odegaard
by Kieran CANNING
MADRID, Jan 22, 2015 (AFP) – Norwegian teenage prodigy Martin Odegaard described his move to European champions Real Madrid as a “dream come true” as he was officially presented in the Spanish capital on Thursday.
The 16-year-old arrived in Madrid after Real splashed out a reported four million euros ($4.6 million, £3.1 million) to beat off stiff competition from around Europe to secure his signature from Stromsgodset.
“It is a dream come true for me. It is unbelievable that I am ready for the best club in the world,” he said.
Odegaard had been linked with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Liverpool and Ajax among others after visiting training facilities across Europe in recent months.
However, despite the fierce competition for places among Real’s Galacitco-filled squad, led by three-time World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, Odegaard insisted Madrid is the right club for his career to flourish.
“I felt it was the best option for the way I could develop both on a sporting level and in my personal life, so it had the best possibilities for me.”
One of the advantages Madrid had over their European rivals was that Odegaard can get regular playing time with Real Madrid reserve side, Real Madrid Castilla, who are coached by the legendary Zinedine Zidane and play in the Spanish third tier.
– Sporadically –
Real’s director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno confirmed that Odegaard will play for Castilla for the rest of the season, but would also train sporadically with the first team and is available for selection should coach Carlo Ancelotti call on him.
Butragueno also revealed that the player’s father, Hans Eirk Odegaard, himself a former player, would join the club’s coaching staff in the youth ranks.
“Of course that is an advantage to be able to have a second team with a very good level with a coach that has been one of the best players in the world,” added Oedegaard.
“I will train a bit with the first team and a bit with Castilla. If Ancelotti wants me to play in the first team I will be really happy and, if not, I will play with Castilla and be really happy too.”
Odegaard’s remarkable rise began less than a year ago when he became the youngest player to appear in the Norwegian first division.
His return of five goals and seven assists in just 23 games for the club led to his first international call-up aged just 15 years and 253 days in August.
He then became the youngest player ever to appear in a European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria two months later.
However, despite the incredible pressure and expectation on one so young, he shrugged off suggestions that the demands at Madrid could be too much.
“The whole year has been amazing since I started to play. It was better than I expected, everything was faster than I expected. It hasn’t been a bad start so I am very happy,” he said.
“I don’t really feel the pressure, but it is quite different to play for Real Madrid than Stromsgodset.”