From future crack at 15 to failure at Real Madrid, then explosion at Arsenal, to the incredible career of Martin Ødegaard
While he was heralded as a future crack 10 years ago, Martin Ødegaard has taken his time establishing himself as one of Europe’s best midfielders. The Norwegian, who played in “Arsenal” this season, is finally able to confirm his full potential.
“He found his place», as Mikel Arteta explains the success and current level of number 10 Martin Ødegaard is simple. But to reach his place, the Norwegian attacking midfielder will have to search for a long time, even fail, but will end up using all the potential that is meant for him. Only 24 years old, Martin Ødegaard has already been the talk of the football world for 10 years. An early age did not help him at the beginning of his career.
It was in 2013 that Martin Ødegaard’s name began to appear in the media. At the age of 15 years and 112 days, he played his first professional match with Strømsgodset. And after just a few games, his father said: “Almost all European clubs contacted us.And he wasn’t lying. A few months later, the Norwegian nugget left to train all over Europe with the first teams of Liverpool, Bayern Munich and especially Real Madrid.
A great change of scenery in Madrid
In the winter of 2015, Real Madrid and the club’s president, Fiorentino Perez, released their checkbook (five million euros for the 17-year-old) to lure Europe’s rising star. The result of this transfer, full of sports and media hopes around his new nugget, will not live up to expectations. The Ødegaard phenomenon is disappearing from the radar. Real Madrid Castilla reserve player Martin Ødegaard is not satisfied and wants to play higher. But in these first 3 seasons, he will taste the main team only once. Not enough for a player who wants to play and therefore demands to go.
A choice that will pay off. During four seasons he was loaned to three different clubs: Heerenveen (Netherlands), Vitesse Arnhem (Netherlands) and Real Sociedad. Ødegaard will find what he needs there: playing time. The Norwegian will then progress linearly and return to the ranks. He plays more regularly without sensationalism and is able to find consistency. His stats are starting to increase and his technical quality is still average. After three seasons in the Netherlands, he would go on two loan spells that would prove to be a turning point in his career.
Word for Real Sociedad, then confirmed for Arsenal
In 2019, Martin Ødegaard finally gets the opportunity to prove himself in a major championship. On loan to Real Sociedad, he shows that the promise of these young years is not just an illusion. Installed in the number 10 position, he had a great first half of the season but lacked consistency. After his return to Real, Zinedine Zidane gave him a chance, but once again Odegaard was not satisfied. Between the layoff and the injuries, everything suggests that the former promise’s career will never take off. That’s when Mikel Arteta and the Gunners come looking for him.
“He is very happy here, the atmosphere is ideal. He won people over, he has time to enjoy himself on the field and he does” stressed Mikel Arteta in March 2022. There, Martin Ødegaard finally found a coach who believed in him and gave him the keys to the team. He was offered an undisputed starting place and after half a season fitting in (on loan) he won a full year last season (36 Premier League games, 7 goals and 5 assists). He will even be given the captain’s armband at the end of the season. A sign of confidence and responsibility the player takes on the field.
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This season, the Norwegian explodes in everyone’s eyes. As decisive as he was last year (7 goals and 5 assists), he became the master of the Gunners. The game depends on him and returns him to his partners. Every ball he touches is fueled by the Norwegian, who has been impressive at the start of the season and has led a Premier League-dominating team with him. Martin Ødegaard finally seems to have nailed his place in this Gunners team and could lead Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League at the end of the season.