"We hope you will achieve great success at Real Madrid. You have an extraordinary talent and we have great hopes for you”. Those words from Emilio Butragueño during Martin Ødegaard's official presentation on 23 January 2015 still reverbarate around Valdebebas. The teenager arrived with a tag of a child prodigy, but after 49 games in the Second Division B (and two goals) and two games with the first team, Ødegaard has yet to set the world alight. Ancelotti, one and a half years after the Norwegian was signed, has shed some light on the move in his latest book Quiet Leadership: “When Florentino buys a Norwegian footballer, you simply have to accept it. Furthermore, the president decided that he would play three games with the first team as a public relations exercise”.
The coach believes that Ødegaard's signing was a marketing manoeuvre and adds that he was not interested in the player: “He could be the best player in the world, but I don't care because he was not a player who I asked for. That signing was a to do with PR”. Madrid and the player are now looking for an outlet - a loan spell in the Premier Leaguefor the new season (Ødegaard's father prefers a move to Germany or England). The 17-year-old will not remain playing in Spain's third tier - the Segunda División B. His contract with Madrid states that he must train with the first team and only play matches with Castilla. “We are all convinced that he is going to become an important player for Real Madrid. We are looking to the future and I think he has quality and intelligence”, Ancelotti said the time, accepting the signing and handing the player two games with the senio side.