Martin Odegaard Determined to Realise Dream of Succeeding at Real Madrid

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 15, 2018

ARNHEM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 10: Martin Odegaard of Vitesse celebrates 2-0 during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between Vitesse v FC Utrecht at the GelreDome on November 10, 2018 in Arnhem Netherlands (Photo by Broer van den Boom/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid youngster Martin Odegaard has said he will do "everything" to make his breakthrough into the Spanish side's first team after showing signs of improvement on loan at Vitesse Arnhem.

Odegaard, 19, is on his second straight loan with an Eredivisie side after spending 18 months with Heerenveen, and he told Voetbal International (h/t Goal) he hasn't lost sight of his Real dream:

"You have to be modest and keep your goal in mind. How many 19-year-olds play in the first team of Madrid? The road is long and I am convinced of myself.

"Work hard, learn more in every game and make more minutes. My goal is clear: I want to play for Real Madrid. I do everything for that. My contract has already been renewed. I take that as a sign of trust. Vitesse is absolutely no step back, it is a step forward towards the top."

The Norwegian wonderkid completed a highly publicised move to Real from Stromsgodset in 2015 and became the youngest player to represent the club in May that year at only 16 years of age.

Odegaard was a regular starter on Heerenveen's right wing last term, though he only contributed two goals and two assists in 2,243 minutes across all competitions, per Transfermarkt

He has two goals and one assist after playing only 800 minutes with Vitesse. The most recent of those strikes was a match-deciding free-kick in their 2-1 victory over Utrecht on Saturday.

The player will turn 20 in December, and Copa90 examined his somewhat lessened profile earlier this year, although plenty of time remains for Odegaard to still become a star at the top level:

His coach in Arnhem, former CSKA Moscow and Russia manager Leonid Slutsky, has also allowed Odegaard more freedom in playing through the middle, where he is arguably at his best.

Odegaard added he's enjoying his time in his new setting under Slutsky, seemingly growing more accustomed to the Netherlands' top division:

"I am satisfied, I'm finding my way more and more here [at Vitesse]. Recently, I finally scored against Heracles. With that, there was a burden lifted off my shoulders. One of my goals is to get better statistics in goals and assists.

"I have to play and learn as much as possible. Of course, I hoped that I would have a place in Real's team. I was training all summer long and got some minutes in the first team. At the end of the summer, the club and I decided that it would be better for me to play elsewhere. That would be the best choice for my own development. Then you are looking for the best conditions for yourself. After the conversation with this coach [Slutsky], I knew it would be Arnhem."

It bodes well for Odegaard's Real hopes that Santiago Solari, the former youth coach in Madrid, has taken over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui as first-team manager.

DAZN highlighted how Solari's instinct soon after arriving at Los Blancos' helm was to stick with what he knows and turn to the youth, albeit with injuries affecting the squad at the time:


Turning to youth. 👶 Santiago Solari has included Odriozola, Asensio and Reguilon in his first @LaLigaEN starting lineup! #HalaMadrid https://t.co/7sm6Q16VNb

That being said, it was a premature vision of having a first-team impact in Spain's capital that perhaps contributed to his plateauing. Odegaard joined one of the biggest clubs in the world less than a month after his 16th birthday, and having a player of his potential even now could prove a big asset in time.